–Army chief says Pakistan will not leave Kashmiris alone until issue is resolved in accordance with their will and UNSC resolutions
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday vowed that Pakistan will not leave Kashmiri people alone until the Kashmir issue is resolved on the basis of the United Nations resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people.
These comments were made at a ceremony at the General Headquarters as the country marked Defence and Martyrs Day, which was also being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Speaking at the event, the army chief said that the hearts of Pakistanis and Kashmiris beat together. He, however, lamented that Indian state terrorism in Kashmir was at its peak.
“Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to give every sacrifice for the people of Kashmir,” said the COAS.
He said the observance of the day this year marked an era for the country when Pakistan was delivering a message of peace and prosperity. “Today the peaceful and changing Pakistan is a message of peace, progress and tolerance for the world,” he said.
He said though the fear of conflict looms over the subcontinent, Pakistan’s role has remained positive as the country has always sought “peace, prosperity and dialogue”.
He said the country’s part in bringing the Taliban to the table was a reflection for its desire for peace, adding Pakistan has always supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
According to the army chief, intense diplomatic efforts by Pakistan ensured that peace returns to Afghanistan.
“Pakistan will continue to extend its cooperation for the successful conclusion of this process as peace in Afghanistan guarantees peace in Pakistan,” said COAS.
In a tribute to the martyrs, the army chief said: “From 1947 till now, whether in traditional war or in operations against terrorists, our martyrs offered sacrifices and ensured the safety of the country.”
He concluded his remarks by paying tribute to martyrs and their families, saying their sacrifices won’t go in vain.
SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR KASHMIR:
Friday marked the 54th anniversary of 1965 Pakistan-India war when Pakistan Army successfully defended the country against a multi-pronged Indian attack on the eastern border.
The day began with a 31-guns salute at the federal capital and 21-gun salute at provincial capitals.
Special prayers were offered for the independence of the occupied Kashmir from the clutches of India.
‘Fateha’ and Quran Khawani were held for all those, who laid their lives for the nation.
Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at the mausoleums of the recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, which will be attended by the senior officials of the respective areas across the country.
The main ceremony for Defence Day was held at the GHQ, where Gen Bajwa laid a wreath at the Martyrs Monument and observed a guard of honour.
A special ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore, where Maj Gen Muhammad Aamir laid a wreath on Iqbal’s mausoleum. A contingent of the Pakistan Army presented a guard of honour.
A special ceremony including the changing of the guards was also held at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi.
Additionally, a ceremony was also held at the naval headquarters in Islamabad.
Offices throughout the country closed by 3pm to mark the day and show solidarity with Kashmiris and martyrs. People visited the families of the martyrs to assure them of their full support.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message, said that all of Pakistan was united against India’s “illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive attempt” to alter the status of occupied Kashmir.
The premier said September 6 stands out in Pakistan’s history as a “symbol of enduring display of unity, indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices by our gallant soldiers”.
He applauded the sacrifices of the armed forces for ensuring the safety and security of the country.
The premier said that today the “enemy” was once again showing “aggressive postures” on the Line of Control (LoC), adding that a “reign of terror” had been unleashed on the people of occupied Kashmir.
The Indian government had placed Kashmiri leaders under house arrest and imposed a strict curfew and communications blackout in the region before it repealed Article 370 of the constitution, revoking occupied Kashmir’s special status. The lockdown has now continued for a month.
“For Pakistan, Kashmir stands as its jugular vein. Altering its status poses challenges to Pakistan’s security and integrity. The fascist government is hell-bent upon suppressing the Kashmiri people’s just struggle against India’s illegitimate occupation, denying them their right to self-determination permissible under the United Nations resolutions,” Prime Minister Imran said.
The premier said that Pakistan would not leave Kashmiris alone and would continue to provide “moral, political and diplomatic support for their inalienable right to self-determination within the framework of [the] UN resolutions”.
Prime Minister Imran expressed his confidence in the capability of the armed forces to give a “befitting response to any kind of aggression by the enemy”.