Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed on February 5 by Pakistan and Kashmiris worldwide, is more than just a national holiday; it is a powerful symbol of support and unity for the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). In its 70-year history, this day has become a beacon of solidarity, commemorating the struggles of the Kashmiri people in their quest for self-determination.
The solemn occasion not only pays tribute to the numerous Kashmiris who have sacrificed their lives in the ongoing conflict but also advocates for a diplomatic resolution that aligns with UN resolutions and addresses the aspirations of the Kashmiri population. Beyond commemoration, Kashmir Solidarity Day is a call to action, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges faced by Kashmiris living under Indian rule.
Kashmiris endure political persecution, economic marginalization, military repression, environmental destruction, and human rights violations. Acts of state brutality, including extrajudicial executions, mass rapes, forced disappearances, and torture, are recorded by various human rights organizations. This day challenges the narratives propagated by the Indian government, questioning the legitimacy of the Kashmiri resistance movement and rejecting the imposition of the RSS Hindutva Ideology of Akhand Bharat.
Crucially, the youth of Kashmir play a pivotal role in this struggle for self-determination. Despite facing intense militarization, surveillance, and social and cultural estrangement, they have displayed remarkable bravery, resilience, and creativity. Employing various forms of expression, such as stone-pelting, graffiti, art, music, poetry, and civil disobedience, the youth have challenged the established status quo and asserted their identity.
However, the youth are not only change-makers but also the most impacted and vulnerable in the conflict. They face limited educational and career opportunities, physical and psychological damage, harassment, and arbitrary detention by security personnel. Often branded as extremists, terrorists, and separatists, their voices are suppressed by the Indian government and media.
On Kashmir Solidarity Day, a plea is made to the youth of Pakistan and the global community to show solidarity with the youth of Kashmir. It is an invitation to educate others about the Kashmir issue, understand its history and realities, and engage in dialogue with the youth of Kashmir to amplify their voices and demands.
As we stand in solidarity with Kashmiris on this day, we pledge to continue advocating for their rights, dignity, and a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The rich history, culture, and identity of Kashmir must be acknowledged, emphasizing that it is not merely a piece of territory but a nation with a distinct voice and vision.
In this collective effort, we declare that Kashmiris are not alone; Pakistanis are here to support their fight for liberty, equity, and respect. On Kashmir Solidarity Day, we reaffirm our commitment to speak up, work together, and stand by the people of Kashmir in their pursuit of self-determination, democracy, and peace.
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