- Kashmiris peaceful protest against illegal annexation
Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned several world leaders to condemn Indian atrocities and its change of Indian-Occupied Kashmir’s status in violation of UN resolutions and India’s own undertakings The PM also took up the matter with US President Donald Trump, asking him to arbitrate in the dispute. Finally he highlighted the plight of the Kashmiris on the other side of the LoC in his address at the UN General Assembly. The government seems to have exhausted whatever options it had in mind to internationalise the Kashmir issue and shake the world’s conscience over India turning the Valley, inhabited by over 12 million human beings, into a virtual prison.
On Saturday the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, a Kashmiri political party operating on both sides of the LoC, started what it called the Freedom March, in protest against India’s moves. Mr Khan meanwhile warned that anyone crossing the LoC from AJK to dispense humanitarian aid or support for the Kashmiris’ struggle will provide India an excuse to blame Pakistan that it is sending terrorists.
The marchers have consequently been stopped a few kilometers from the LoC by putting containers, concertina wire and electric poles to bar their way. The marchers then decided to hold a sit-in till they were either allowed to proceed or Pakistan’s Foreign Office called representatives of the UN Secretary General and the P-5 to allow them to present their charter of demands before the world’s movers and shakers. The marchers are now protesting in the open in weather that is turning increasingly cold. With hundreds of protesters blocking the roads, the population in the area is also facing problems.
The prolongation of the peaceful protest might be distressing for the marchers and make life inconvenient for the population in the vicinity, but it is bound to draw the world’s attention. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and PM Imran Khan would do well to meet the protesters who think that since the PM’s efforts have failed to bring any change in India’s Kashmir policy, the Kashmiris must come forward to draw the world’s attention to the plight of their brethren across the LoC. The marchers need to be provided all possible diplomatic help by Pakistan’s Foreign Office.