On the occasion of Pakistan Independence Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said he was “saddened” by the plight of the people in Jammu and Kashmir as they were “victims of Indian oppression”. In a statement, he assured “Kashmiri brothers” that Pakistan stands with them.
“Independence Day is an opportunity for great happiness, but today we are saddened by the plight of our Kashmiri brothers in occupied Jammu and Kashmir who are victims of Indian oppression,” Khan was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters. “I assure my Kashmiri brothers that we stand with them,” he added.
Pakistan’s Independence Day falls a day before India celebrates its own. The Pakistan government is planning to observe August 15 as “Black Day” this year, and fly its national flag at half mast on all government buildings. This is in protest of India’s decision to revoke provisions of Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, during a function in Islamabad Wednesday, Pakistan President Arif Alvi said “Kashmiris and Pakistanis are one”, and that the country wanted to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue. “We will not leave them alone at any stage. Kashmiris and Pakistanis are one. Our grief is common as their tears move our hearts. We were with them; we are standing with them and will continue to do so,” the President was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants to resolve the Kashmir dispute through negotiations and dialogue. India, however, should not misunderstand our policy of peace as our weakness,” he added.
Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India, suspended trade and stopped all public transport that runs between the two countries.
Islamabad had moved the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over J&K last week, but was told that a solution must be found “bilaterally”. The Indian Express reported that Poland — which currently holds the UNSC presidency — said both countries should work out a “mutually beneficial solution bilaterally”.
India, meanwhile, has reiterated that the recent amendment to its Constitution does not entail any international consequences and aims to end the temporary situation and to create better opportunities for growth in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)