Anti-Pakistan protests across PoK to mark 1947 invasion
Anti-Pakistan protests were held on Sunday across the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan to mark the "Black Day".
Protests were reported from Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, Gilgit and Hajirah and other places.
People came out on the streets to register their protest on the 70th anniversary of the day.
A massive rally and public meeting were held at Banbehek, near Rawalakot. The protestors chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from the occupied territory.
A similar protest rally was held at the Kotli and Hajira towns of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The rallies have been continuing throughout the day. Some of the protestors gathered at the Neelum Bridge in Muzaffarabad and spoke about the atrocities being committed by the Pakistan Army on the people of the PoK and Gilgit.
Nabeel Mughal, an activist of Muzaffarabad-based Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation (JKNSF) said, "We are protesting at the historic Neelum Bridge in Muzaffarabad, where the tribals carried out an attack on October 22, 1947."
He added, "Our protests raise many issues including the illegal construction of Neelum Jhelum hydro-electric project, which causes problems for the locals. We also demand the government to remove restrictions on students' organizations and immediately release all political activists from Gilgit Baltistan who are lodged in jails."
Dr. Misfar Hassan, the president of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation League, said, "It was tribals from Pakistan who created this conflict. They invaded an independent state on October 22, 1947, with an intent to occupy it. Jammu and Kashmir was attacked by Pakistan and one-third of our people are under foreign occupation. This is why we consider October 22 as a black day in our history."
He added, "Our protest is held in that context as they continue to cause problems in Kashmir by sending out mercenaries who indulge in violence. We want peace and our rights."
Sardar Mahmood Kashmiri, Chairman, the Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance (JKNIA), said, "We are protesting against the division of Jammu Kashmir. On this day, in 1947, our beloved country was invaded, divided and captured by the PakistanArmy and they still continue to loot and harass the good people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, who are living in fear as they are constantly staring down the barrel of a gun."
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, also known as "Azad Kashmir", has a Prime Minister and a President, but is ruled from Islamabad. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the chairman and chief executive of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council that manages all affairs related to PoK.
Usman Kiani, the president of the United Kashmir People's National Party, said, "We demand (Pakistan) to vacate our land as per the UN Security Council resolution."
Exiled Kashmiri leader and the chairman of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP), Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, said, "Pakistan claims that she is champion of self-determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir but fact is this that she did not respect the right to self-determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir and attacked sovereignty and integrity of our motherland."
He added, "It was Pakistan who first attacked Jammu and Kashmir and compelled our ruler Maharaja Hari Singh to seek help from India. He signed a provisional treaty of accession with India to get military help. No one but Pakistan is responsible for this state of affairs."
"The United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir clearly ask Pakistan to withdraw its troops and citizens from the state. But since 1948, Pakistan has not complied with the UN resolutions, Kashmiris are divided and suffering on both sides of so-called the Line of Control," added Kashmir.
Sajjad Raja, the international coordinator of the Dogra Sadar Sabha Jammu and Kashmir, said, "The immoral, inhumane, illegal, unconstitutional, violent and brutal invasion of 22 October installed the so-called Azad Kashmir, which is in fact "Azab Kashmir", government which surrendered all basic human, political, constitutional, civil and economic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and handed in the 27,000 sq miles areas of Gilgit and Baltistan to direct Pakistani agency rule."
"The people of Jammu and Kashmir protest against Pakistan on this day to declare their will to obtain independence from Pakistan and demand withdrawal of Pakistani army and civil servants from the State of Jammu and Kashmir," added Raja.