The so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day observed each year on February 5 was the brain child of the Amir of Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, late Qazi Hussain Ahmed. When the Pakistan genocide of Kashmiri Pundits was being carried out in the valley of Kashmir from January 1990 onwards, hypocritical Kashmir Solidarity rallies were being held in Pakistan as well as in Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (PoJK, PoGB).
On January 28 this year, just one week before the so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day, the Commissioner called a meeting at his office in Gilgit city. It was attended by civil service heads such as the Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, head of the police department and other senior directors and sub-division officers (SDOs) of government departments. He ordered them to bring two banners each for the February 5 rally in Gilgit city inscribed with anti-India slogans. He also asked them to make sure that each department gathers all of their employees and get them to attend the rally. The direct and open involvement of the local administrations in organising anti-India public rallies in the guise of Kashmir solidarity is in direct contradiction to the recently-launched so-called National Security Policy (NSP).
The Gilgit pattern is not only being replicated all over PoGB, but also in PoJK and Pakistan. The Prime Minister of PoJK has been heavily criticised by the Commander of 10 Corps for his failure in conducting an impressionable protest all over PoJK on the occasion of India's 73rd Republic Day on January 26. The failure to bring out even an insignificant number of public to hold anti-India protests in PoJK/GB and at the Indian High Commission in London on January 26 has put the operations section of both the military intelligence and the ISI under immense pressure.
All over PoJK, less than a hundred people (mostly policemen dressed in white clothes and some women borrowed from low paid jobs) could be mustered up, and in London less than 40 people turned up for the protest (most of whom were carrying yellow Khalistan flags). One wonders how shameless the Pakistani establishment is to even talk about ‘solidarity' with the people living in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir when people in PoJK and PoGB and that of Pakistan are living under the occupation of Pakistani military establishment since October 22, 1947, in abject poverty sans basic human rights?
For three consecutive years, PoJK/GB has been facing severe shortages of wheat, leading to starvation in several pockets across the occupied territories, ex-service men have not received a single paisa in pensions, employees have not received salaries for a year now, load-shedding of up to 20 hours in the capital city of Gilgit and Skardu and 18 hours across PoJK, scarcity of water after our rivers were diverted to make water available for hydropower projects built by Chinese companies and producing electricity for consumption in Islamabad ad Punjab, lack of classrooms in primary and middle schools in PoJK and hospitals running without MRI, CT Scan, Doppler, ECG machines and lack of specialist doctors including gynecologists, broken road with no safety walls, and last but not the least, 2 million out of a population of 4 million forced into exile to earn a merge living for families back home.
My question is, who needs solidarity?
At this crucial juncture in our history when the reunification of PoJK and PoGB with Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, respectively, seems more than just writing on the wall and at a time in history when we are faced with the worst kind of humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories, it is us, the people living under the illegal occupation of Pakistan, who need solidarity of the people of the world. In the face of the day-to-day plight of the people of PoJK and PoGB, Pakistani state-sponsored Kashmir Solidarity Day becomes nothing but a mockery.
(Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza is a British commentator, writer, columnist, journalist and political activist).