Kashmiris mark Black Day to protest Pakistan’s illegal occupation

Scholars working in this area are well aware that Pakistan wants to keep the Kashmir dispute alive by sponsoring academics and activists alike to justify its huge defense spending.

In 2019, Indian media reported that Indian Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar “expects India to have jurisdiction over POK one day.”

“Our position on PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) has always been and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India and we expect one day that we will have the physical jurisdiction over it.” 

Further, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, stated that “the Modi government is now aiming at retrieving parts of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to make them part of the Indian mainland.”

With this also came a statement by Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, that the Indian Army is “ready” (to “capture” Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir) and waiting for a political decision, raised hopes amongst Kashmiris.

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These Kashmiris, in spite of the fear of Pakistan-trained terrorists and their calls for “Azadi,” have always supported India – 1947, 1965, and 1999 – by informing the authorities about enemy movement.

The question that begs to be raised is how are people in the West unaware of Pakistan’s invasion and pillage of Kashmir in October 1947

These people are well aware of Pakistan’s role in sponsoring and spreading terror in the region and other parts of the world.

Image source: Wikipedia.

In the West, thanks to a dedicated band of Pakistan-origin and -sponsored activists, politicians, academics, and journalists, people are unaware of PoK – Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Only these groups who follow Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir are allowed to visit PoK and report to the West the fake narrative that Pakistan has built around its illegal occupation of the valley.

These sponsored groups have lobbied aggressively to push Pakistan’s narrative on the status of J&K in their respective countries.

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A good example is the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPGK), consisting of MPs from the Labour, Conservative, and Pakistani heritage, which received money (USD 17,917 approx) from Pakistan for a visit to PoK.

In return, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has been extremely critical of India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and constantly points to human rights abuse in J&K while keeping silent on Pakistan’s support to jihadists and human rights abuses in PoK. 

Such people have actually made Pakistan appear as a champion for Muslim Kashmiris while presenting India’s Hindutva force suppressing calls for ‘Azadi in J&K.

PoK mainly comprises two regions: Portion of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan – a territory occupied by the Pakistani military.

According to Arif Jamal, a US-based journalist, and author, these areas are used to train Kashmiri jihadists such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaat ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba against India.

“Most Kashmiri jihadist groups have their training camps in mainland Pakistan as well as in the Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.”

Image source: Wikipedia.

Pakistan government’s official position is that it is merely administering PoK until a United Nations-sanctioned plebiscite takes place.

With this plebiscite, the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) will be able to determine whether they will join India or Pakistan.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) cannot enforce such a plebiscite as the resolution requires that Pakistan must withdraw its forces from J&K for it to happen.

For India, J&K is legitimately its territory as Maharaja Hari Singh acceded on 26 October 1947.

Earlier this year, India even rejected the elections held in PoK. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India lodged a “strong protest” with Pakistan on a “cosmetic exercise” to hold elections in PoK.

In 2019, even the New York Times journalists who were granted access to PoK noted suppression of rights and frustration amongst people who want freedom from Pakistan.

In fact, PoK rights activist Amjad Ayub Mirza in 2020 raised a demand at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to merge PoK with India.

She pointed to how the world seems to be “hypnotised by the fake narratives spun by the Pakistani government” and the people are “desperate to gain freedom” from the hands of the Pakistani occupation.

Image source: Kashmir Archives – Twitter.

Traditionally, Pakistan-sponsored Kashmiris and their sympathisers have observed October 27 as a Black Day to mark the landing of Indian troops to fight Pakistan-backed Pashtoon tribal invaders.

However, since last year, Kashmiris who recognise India’s legitimacy over J&K have started marking October 22 as Black Day to highlight Pakistan’s illegal invasion and occupation of the valley.

This year on October 22, the Kashmiri Community in Washington DC has shared their stories observing the day as ‘Black Day.’

Unlike PoK, J&K as one of the states in the Indian Union provides Kashmiri people the same constitutional rights as the rest of India.

Scholars working in this area are well aware that Pakistan wants to keep the Kashmir dispute alive by sponsoring academics and activists alike to justify its huge defense spending. It further aims to receive large concessions and payments from the US and other powers under the ruse of neutralising terrorists.

After Afghanistan, Pakistan stands naked and alone on the world stage as a prominent supporter of the Taliban.

While India’s government relentlessly tries to improve things and work on development, the state of J&K has once again become a target of Jihadist attacks.

There is no surprise that the targets are Kashmiri Hindus, local Muslims who support India, and people from other states of India who have come for employment or business – reminding Kashmiris of the exodus of Pandits from the valley.

Once again, people are requesting the Indian government to take strict action before the situation becomes volatile with interference from the Pakistan-trained Taliban who is now waiting to enter Kashmir and destabilize India.

While Kashmiris mark 22 October Black day all over the world, a call for a tough stance against Jihadist elements present in J&K appears as the need of the hour.