Kashmiris in AJK observe black day

15 August 2009
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

MUZAFFARABAD: A large number of people attended demonstrations in various parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday to observe India's independence day as 'black day'. In Muzaffarabad, Pasban-i-Hurriyat, an organisation of Kashmiri refugees, took out a procession from Garhi Pan Chowk to the Bank Square in Chattar. Some representatives of All Parties Hurriyat Conference were also present. Carrying black flags and placards inscribed with anti-India slogans, the demonstrators marched towards the offices of the United Nations Military Observers where they set on fire Indian flag. They handed over a memorandum to UN officials, calling upon the world body to initiate measures to stop Indian brutalities in the disputed region. The memorandum asked the UN secretary-general to use his good offices for repealing black laws in occupied Kashmir, release of political prisoners, withdrawal of Indian troops and removal of criminal elements from police and civil administration in the occupied territory. It called for a probe under the UN into human rights abuses and molestation of girls by police in recent months in occupied Kashmir. Addressing the demonstrators, Pasban-i-Hurriyat and APHC leaders criticised India for denying Kashmiri people their right to self-determination and unleashing a reign of terror in the occupied territory to suppress the popular demand for freedom. 'India has no right to celebrate independence as it has usurped freedom of 16.5 million Kashmiris for the past 62 years through the use of brute force,' they said. They demanded immediate end to all restrictions on peaceful public gatherings, demonstrations in occupied Kashmir and implementation of UN resolutions to stabilise peace in the region. Settlement of Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris was imperative for lasting peace in South Asia, they emphasised. Prominent among the speakers were APHC convener Mohammad Farooq Rehmani, Ghulam Nabi Nowshervi, Ghulam Mohammad Safi, Uzair Ghizali and Mushtaqul Islam.