KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan on Tuesday, the 73rd anniversary of the landing of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, reiterated its “unwavering” support to the disputed region’s “freedom” struggle.

In his message to mark the day, which Islamabad and pro-freedom Kashmiris observe as Black Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country will continue to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Kashmiris, and extend all possible support “until they realize their legitimate right to self-determination.”

On Oct. 27, 1947, Indian forces landed in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, which led to the accession of the princely state with India.

India says it was in reaction to “invasion” by Pakistan’s irregular tribal militia, which managed to “conquer” one-third of Jammu and Kashmir, now known as Azad Kashmir, or Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Two-thirds of the Himalyan valley is controlled by India.

The events are also referred to as the first war between the two countries on Kashmir.

Since then, the picturesque valley has been a bone of contention between the two nuclear arch-rivals, who have fought two full-fledged wars — in 1948 and 1965 — and a three-week Kargil skirmish on Kashmir.

“We are observing this day to condemn India’s illegal occupation and to reiterate our unwavering support to the Kashmiri people,” Khan said. The “Black Day represents a dark chapter in human history when, 73 years ago, Indian forces landed in Srinagar to forcibly occupy the territory and subjugate people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The “occupation,” he said, represents an international dispute, the solution of which is firmly anchored in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions in accordance with the UN Charter.

“Despite unabated Indian atrocities for more than seven decades posing an existential threat, India is unable to break the will of the Kashmiri people,” he said, adding that the “international community bears witness that Indian state-terrorism, extra-judicial killing of innocent Kashmiris, unprecedented restrictions in freedom of speech, fake encounters, cordon-and-search operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership and youth, use of pellet guns, destruction and burning of houses to inflict ‘collective punishment’ on the Kashmiris communities and other methods of subjugation have failed to shake the resolve of the Kashmiris people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.”

Condemning New Delhi’s controversial decision to scrap the longstanding semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5, 2019, Khan said India’s “unilateral actions, military siege and communication blockade accompanied by illegal measures to bring about demographic change in the valley, expose yet another dimension of RSS-inspired ‘Hindutva’ ideology.”

The dangerous mix of extremist ideology [Hindutva], and hegemonic designs [Akhand Bharat] is imperiling regional peace and stability, he argued.

Noting that the “international legitimacy” of the dispute is enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, which are binding, he said it is the collective responsibility of all member states to ensure compliance by India of its international obligations.

He urged the international community to take practical steps to stop India from using ” state-terrorism as a tool to destabilize the region,” and to work for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

This, he added, is the only way durable peace and stability can be ensured is South Asia.

In a separate message, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called “for the urgent lifting of the military siege and media blackout, immediate stop to the violations of human rights of Kashmiri people, release of Kashmiri leaders and youth, and end to impunity granted to Indian occupation forces under draconian laws.”

“We urge the international community to play its role in putting pressure on India to reverse its illegal course in IIOJK and restore the Kashmiris’ fundamental human rights,” he said in a statement.

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