History of Kashmir SolidarityDay
Renowned for its scenic beauty, Kashmir lies in the northernmost part of the Indian sub-continent, bordered by the Himalayas. At the time of the partition of India, the region was a princely state under the British Raj. The state was divided into three, now controlled by India (Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan), and China (Aksai Chin).
The split of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has led to enmity and bloodshed with three wars between India and Pakistan over the region – in 1947, 1965, and 1999.
Pakistan considers the issue of control of Kashmir as the core issue between India and Pakistan, which has led to three wars and means that Pakistan feels they need to devote a significant portion of their national income to military budgets.
A non-working day to highlight the issue of Kashmir was first suggested by Qazi Hussain Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in 1990. The idea was supported by Nawaz Sharif, Punjab’s Chief Minister at the time, and the Prime Minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto. The Pakistan People’s Party then declared February 5th as a public holiday.
On Kashmir Day, all government, semi-government and private offices across Pakistan will remain closed. The State Bank of Pakistan will also remain closed.
The day is marked by political rallies, marches, and speeches about Kashmir. A human chain is formed on the major route from Pakistan to Kashmir.
A one-minute silence is observed at 10 am local time in honor of the dead. Radio Pakistan broadcast a special marathon transmission focusing on different aspects of the Kashmir dispute.
Song : O Valley of Kashmir
اے وادی کشمیر
According to the resolution, the day is meant to recognize New York’s Kashmiri community and to “champion human rights including the freedom of religion, movement, and expression for all Kashmiri people, which are embedded within the United States Constitution, through the recognition of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious identities.
The Pakistani mission thanked the New York lawmaker Nader Sayegh and the American Pakistani Advocacy Group for their efforts.