Kashmir Solidarity Day: A Call for Youth Action

Written By: Amara Malik

Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed on February 5 by Pakistan and Kashmiris worldwide, is a national holiday signifying solidarity and support for the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), who have been fighting for their right to self-determination for over 70 years. In addition, the day honours the hundreds of Kashmiris who have been martyred in the war and advocates for a diplomatic settlement that satisfies both the UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Kashmir Solidarity Day is not only a day of commemoration, but also a day of action. It’s a day to bring attention to the predicament of the Kashmiris, who are subjected to political persecution, economic marginalisation, military repression, environmental destruction and breaches of their human rights while living under Indian rule. It’s a day to call for justice for those who have been victims of state brutality, including the numerous extrajudicial executions, mass rapes, forced disappearances, and acts of torture that several local and international human rights organisations have recorded. It’s a day to question the narratives of the Indian government and its backers, which reject the legitimacy of the Kashmiri resistance movement and present Kashmir as an essential component of India under its fascist RSS Hindutva Ideology of Akhand Bharat.

The youth’s contribution is vital in this regard. The bulk of people in Kashmir are young, and they have led the charge in the struggle for self-determination. They endure intense militarization and monitoring, but they have demonstrated incredible bravery, tenacity, and inventiveness in expressing their discontent and goals. They have challenged the established status quo and asserted their identity and agency using a variety of protest tactics, including stone-pelting, graffiti, art, music, poetry, social media, and civil disobedience.

Additionally, they are one’s who have been the most impacted and most at risk from the violence. They have experienced social and cultural estrangement, a lack of educational and career options, and physical and psychological damage. They have been harassed, intimidated, and arbitrarily detained by the security personnel. They have not been given the room or the stage on which to air their complaints and dreams. The Indian government and media have branded them as extremists, terrorists, separatists, and anti-nationals. Therefore, it is crucial that the youngsters receive the encouragement and appreciation they deserve. They are both the change makers and the victims of the war. They embody not just Kashmir’s future but also its present. They are the peace process’s motivators as well as its stakeholders.

So, we urge on youth of Pakistan and the rest of the globe to show support for the youth of Kashmir on Kashmir Solidarity Day. We implore them to educate others about the Kashmir problem and to educate themselves about its history and realities. In order to cooperate and converse with the youth of Kashmir and to raise their voices and demands. We all should continue to stand up for the rights and dignity of the Kashmiri people and to put pressure on the international community and governments to act decisively in favour of a peaceful, democratic settlement of the crisis.

On Kashmir Solidarity Day, we pledge to remain steadfast in our support of the region and rekindle our optimism for a successful and peaceful future for Kashmir and its people. It is a day to honour the sacrifices and hardships made by the Kashmiri people, as well as to commemorate their spirit and tenacity. This day serves as a reminder that Kashmir is a nation with a rich history, culture, and identity; not just a piece of territory. Today is an important opportunity to make it very loud and clear that Kashmiris control the region and have the freedom to determine their own future.

This is the day to declare clearly that Kashmiris are not alone; we Pakistanis are here for them. We support them in your fight for liberty, equity, and respect. Pakistan supports them in theirfight back against injustice, occupation, and oppression and wesupport their desire for self-determination, democracy, peace and their vision of a brighter future in which they can live in peace, safety, and prosperity.

Pakistan honours them, Kashmiri youth, who has persevered in demanding their rights and pursuing their dreams. They are strong and courageous. In their region, they are the real leaders and the real heroes. For all of us, they are the source of motivation and inspiration. They embody Kashmir’s voice and vision.

Hence, we vow to stand by them in every manner on Kashmir Solidarity Day. We vow to speak up for them in all public spaces and on all media. We vow to work together on all campaigns and projects. We vow to support them through every trial and hardship. We vow never to disappoint them, never to make themfeel alone, and never to give up on their dreams.

We are unified, we are one, we are Kashmir. We are the people, the force, and the agent of change. We are the answer, the hope, and the liberation. Kashmir is ours, and we are Kashmir.

Writer is a Student of BS IR at NDU, Researcher at Policy East & intern at Kashmir Institute of International Relations

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