–Rallies were held in different areas of the city to condemn Indian brutalities against innocent Kashmiris
LAHORE: Kashmir Solidarity Hour was observed in Lahore on Friday from 12pm to 12:30 pm in which all government departments and officials participated with vigor and enthusiasm whereas the slogan “Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan” was everywhere as rallies chanted it with zeal.
The government departments were directed by the federal and Punjab governments to observe a solidarity hour in which they were directed to follow the instructions in letter and spirit.
The rallies to express solidarity with Kashmiris started from the designated offices and gathered at Istanbul Chowk. The national anthems of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) were played loud at the Charring Cross and many other places whereas the participants of the rally chanted “Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked the nation to come out on Friday to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people who have been facing Indian brutalities for a long time. In this regard, a meeting was also held at Governor House which was jointly chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar to review arrangements for rallies and gatherings to express solidarity with the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
CM Buzdar said that the nation would show solidarity with the Kashmiris against Indian aggression. He appealed to the nation to take an active part in Kashmir solidarity rallies to give a strong message that Kashmiris were not alone.
Governor Sarwar and CM Buzdar participated in a rally at Faisal Chowk. Provincial ministers, including Raja Basharat, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Yasir Humayun, Anser Majeed Khan, Hashim Jawan Bakht, PTI Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry, the chief secretary and inspector general of police (IGP) also participated in the rally.
Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) held a rally to express solidarity with the people of IOK and they held banners while marching towards Istanbul Chowk. Similarly the Auqaf Department also held a rally and a large number of officers and staff of the department participated in rally and marched on The Mall.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) staff also held a rally which started from Lawrence Road and ended at Istanbul Chowk whereas the Rangeela Rickshaws of WCLA were also made a part of the solidarity rally. WCLA Director Administration Shahid Nadeem led the rally and said, “It is a matter of concern for all Pakistanis and we are holding these rallies to show our solidarity with the Kashmiris.” The participants in the rally also held banners and chanted “Kashmir Hamara Hai”.
The students and doctors of Kind Edward Medical College (KEMC) also held a rally on The Mall and gathered at the Charring Cross to express solidarity with Kashmiris. Solidarity hour was also organized under the management of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore. The students and professors held banners and posters against Indian atrocities in Kashmir.
The District Administration of Lahore also held a rally in which members of the civil society and several government officials participated. Lahore DC Saleh Saeed joined the rally at Faisal Chowk. “The entire city stands united with the Kashmiris and are praying for them. We are holding these rallies to express our concern and commitment with the Kashmiris,” Saleh Saeed said.
Similarly, the Punjab Police also arranged a ceremony in central police office in which all additional IGPs, DIGs and AIGs along with other senior officers and employees took part and national anthems of Pakistan and AJK were played whereas special prayers were conducted for the independence of Kashmiris. Furthermore, IGP Captain (r) Arif Nawaz Khan expressed pleasure and appreciated police officials for the foolproof security arrangements during these rallies in all districts across the province. IGP said that police officials should also protect the lives and properties of people with the same spirit and should not leave any stone unturned in the fulfillment of their duties.
The City Traffic Police also participated in the rally and the IG Operations Ashfaq Khan and Lahore CTO Capt (r) Liaqat Ali Malik stayed along with the float of CTP. During the rally, CTO Lahore said, “Kashmir is our integral part and we are holding this rally in order to show solidarity with Kashmir and its people who are fighting for freedom.”
Alhamra Arts Council also organised a walk for solidarity with Kashmir in which people participated in large numbers. At the event, tribute was paid to innocent Kashmiris who were martyred by Indian forces in the occupied valley. They strongly condemned Indian atrocities against the Kashmiris and protested against India’s elimination of special status of IOK. Alhamra’s officers, employees and many artists attended the walk. Lahore Arts Council executive director said that the Pakistani nation will stand with the Kashmiri people till the last breath. He further said that the rights of the Kashmiri people under Indian rule are being violated while the Kashmiri children and people have been deprived of food. He said that during this difficult time Kashmiri people are not alone and Pakistan will not hesitate to make any sort of sacrifices for them.
Meanwhile, the staff of the Secretary Youth Affairs Sports Archaeology & Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab was on the double decker bus for the rally.
The people of Lahore appreciated the government’s step to hold rallies to express solidarity with Kashmiris and said that this will show the world that Pakistan will not leave the Kashmiris alone in this time of need.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Rashid Mayo, a resident of Lahore, said, “Kashmir is the part and heart of Pakistan. The vicious aggression by Indian army on our Kashmiri brothers and sisters is shameful and now the whole world can see the extremist face of India. This is the time that the whole world should put pressure on India to leave Kashmir and release the people from its occupation.”
Another local, who was the part of rally near Lower Mall, said, “We want to give a clear message to India and the world that Pakistan will support the Kashmiri people till the last breath and will continue to support its diplomatic and the legitimate struggle of Kashmiri for self-determinations. India is violating the Geneva Convention by locking down the valley for consecutive 26 days. Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters are facing the shortage of medicines and food due to the prolonged curfew. Indian Army is starting the genocide in the occupied valley to convert the majority Kashmiris into a minority. This is not bearable and today we are showing solidarity with Kashmiris to tell them that all Pakistan are with them and will stand them through thick and thin.”
Pictures by Zubair Mehfooz