(On the occasion of 27th October 2022 ‘Kashmir Black Day’)

Today, with a heavy heart, we mark yet another Kashmir Black Day. On 27thOctober 1947, seventy-five years ago, India forcibly landed its troops in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) and she continues to forcibly and illegally occupy this territory ever since.

To perpetuate its forcible occupation of the IIOJK, India has amassed more than 900,000 armed troops in the territory. Torture, illegal detentions, implication in fictitious cases, indiscriminate use of force under the impunity of draconian laws and systemized campaigns to rob the Kashmiris of their distinct cultural and religious identities mark the reality of India’s brutal occupation of the occupied territory.

The situation has further worsened since India’s illegal and unilateral revocation of the special status of IIOJK on 5th August 2019. Around 690 extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris have taken place at the hands of the Indian occupation forces in the last three years. Prominent Hurriyat leaders have been detained illegally or placed under house arrest.

India is also making reprehensible attempts at bringing about demographic changes in IIOJK by issuing fake domiciles, changing property laws, gerrymandering electoral districts, creating new seats for Hindu-dominated regions in the state legislature, and adding non-Kashmiri residents to the electoral rolls. Despite all odds, the valiant Kashmiris continue to defy the Indian bayonets, by rendering  invaluable sacrifices, and refusing to accept subjugation as their fate.

History is witness to the fact that solemn commitments made by the Government of India to the people of the IIOJK, to Pakistan, and to the international community to abide by and implement the relevant Security Council resolutions have been disowned by the occupying powers. History is also witness that India acted insincerely all along, and completely reneged on these solemn commitments.

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute has been on the United Nations’ agenda for over seven and a half decades. Pakistan has remained faithful to its commitments to the Kashmiris and has also consistently raised its voice on the continuing grave human rights violations in IIOJK. It has also consistently called upon the international community to assume its role and responsibility with regards to IIOJK, raising our voice against the ongoing Indian atrocities in the occupied territory and demanding an immediate reversal of the Indian government’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019.

The only solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute lies in ensuring that the Kashmiris are allowed to exercise their right of self-determination, through the democratic process of holding a UN-mandated free and impartial plebiscite, as espoused in the relevant UNSC resolutions and as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan’s rock-solid support to the Kashmir cause remains as steadfast as ever. Our greatest asset is the national consensus on this core issue. In fact, love for Kashmir and allegiance to this just cause remains an element of fact in every stratum of our society. This was the reason our beloved Quaid referred to Kashmir as Pakistan’s ‘Jugular vein’. It runs in our blood.

My message to all Kashmiri brothers and sisters on this sombre occasion is simple: Pakistan will always stand by you, no matter what the cost. We are your voice to the world. Our support and solidarity is abiding. We will not rest until you secure your legitimate right to self-determination. In Sha Allah, that day is not far away!