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Kashmir Solidarity Day: Pakistan to observe Sep 27 as Black Day

Prime Minister Imran Khan shall address the UN General Assembly on September 27. Pakistan is going to celebrate Kashmir Solidarity Day and observe it as Black Day. Is PM Khan proving to be a genuine ambassador of Kashmir?

Solidarity Day

The federal government has decided to mark September 27 as “Kashmir Solidarity Day” to express solidarity with the people in India-occupied Kashmir against Indian brutalities. The government has also decided to mark the day as Black Day. It is worth noting that PM Imran is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on the same day. He has already announced that he will highlight the Kashmir issue in his address, exposing the ethical and legal bankruptcy of India’s Aug 5 decision to annex the occupied valley.

According to a notification issued by the interior ministry on Wednesday, the day will be observed under the theme “Let us save the innocent children of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir“.

The Prime Minister has approved to celebrate the day and show solidarity with the people of Kashmir. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has very kindly approved September 27, Friday, as Kashmir Solidarity Day for holding public rallies across Pakistan to express their feelings with the people of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” read the notification.

The ministry has advised all concerned quarters to plan activities to make it a successful event. The Kashmir Cell of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended several key messages, including “I am terrorised; I need food, medicine, and care; I want my father back; We want to play too; I deserve a childhood too”. It also proposed two trends “#HumansofKashmir” and “#ChildrenunderSeige“.

Ms. Gilani believes Pakistani is using “soft power” skillfully in a situation when “India wants the world to forget it [Kashmir]”.

GVS recently approached different experts and scholars to get their opinion on the government’s policy to celebrate Kashmir Hour/Day. Here are their comments:

Syeda Aminah Gilani, a Lahore-based academic and political commentator, believes this policy is appreciable despite criticism from several corners in the country. “This particular policy,” opines Ms. Gilani, “has largely received criticism as it is not being considered result-oriented or to many people, it is a mere symbolic gesture rather pragmatic one during a time when a more practical approach is required to rescue Kashmiris under siege.

However, when a more analytical approach is applied it can be seen that the science behind this policy is mainly to keep the Kashmir cause alive and for both domestics and international audiences as part of the government’s efforts to internationalize the unjust Indian treatment of Kashmiri people”.

She further explains that “it is also obvious from Indian political and diplomatic tactics that its Kashmir plan post the abrogation of Article 370 is to let the issue simmer into oblivion over time while a communication blackout is imposed”.

Ms. Gilani believes Pakistani is using “soft power” skillfully in a situation when “India wants the world to forget it [Kashmir]”.

While commenting on the symbolic significance of the move, Ms. Gilani says that “in case of conventional warfare or for a diplomatic onslaught, the symbolic gestures like such play an important role. It paves for the necessary promotion of morale, unity and national narrative that serves as the backbone for the government’s decision-making, and in many cases plays the very role which could change government’s priorities in favor of the mood and will of the people”.

Read more: GVS Exclusive: Kashmir Solidarity Hour: How do experts view its implications?

G-M Pitafi who teaches politics at the University of Management & Technology (UMT), Lahore, believes that the decision of the Prime Minister is “need of the hour” and the government “should not compromise on raising the Kashmir issue” before the international community. Mr. Pitafi thinks that the focus and commitment Pakistan demonstrates in the present situation shall determine whether the International community and Islamic countries take Kashmir issues seriously or not. He believes that “charity begins at home so Pakistan will have to lead the movement for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination”.

Ahmad Ali Naqvi, Lecturer in Political Science at PU, believes that the government’s decision is “more a catharsis for masses and self-satisfaction on the part of policymakers”. He further opines that the government “hopes to give a message of unity and intensity of Pakistani peoples’ sentiments on Kashmir to international community in general and Kashmiris in particular.

However, while keeping into view the domestic, regional and global political scenario Mr. Naqvi is unsure if the government shall achieve its latent objectives. “I doubt if any of this is likely to happen,” he said.

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