Pakistan News: Thousands of people rallied across Pakistan on Saturday to denounce Indian rule in Kashmir, the disputed Muslim-majority Himalayan state divided between the rivals.
A Pakistani public holiday, Kashmir Solidarity Day, supports the region’s right to self-determination in line with UN resolutions that call for a plebiscite in Kashmir on whether it should be ruled by India or Pakistan.
Hundreds of people formed a human chain at the Kohala bridge to the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir.
Banners and hoardings calling for Kashmir’s freedom from Indian rule were put up by main roads and intersections across Pakistan and thousands of people in the country held protest rallies.
Pakistan observed a one-minute silence at 10:00 am as a mark of respect to the more than 47,000 people killed since an insurgency broke out in mainly Muslim Indian-administered Kashmir in 1989.
President Asif Ali Zardari, in a special message on the day, reiterated Pakistan’s support to Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom from Indian rule.
“I reiterate to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters our pledge that they have our full moral, diplomatic and political support. We shall stand always with them in their just struggle,” Zardari said.
Kashmir was split in two in the aftermath of independence on the subcontinent when British rule ended in 1947. Both India and Pakistan claim the entire territory, which is divided by a heavily militarised Line of Control.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring an insurgency in Kashmir.
Pakistan denies the claim but has often spoken in support of the fighters. —AFP