Pakistan is observing its annual Defence and Martyrs day on Friday, September 6, to commemorate the war heroes and to highlight the plight of Kashmiris living under Indian occupation. This year the event is also being observed as Kashmir solidarity day and according to the interior ministry, offices throughout the country will be closed by 3pm to mark the day and show solidarity with Kashmiris and martyrs. People are being encouraged to visit the families of the martyrs to assure them of their full support.

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the 1965 Pakistan-India war when the armed forces defended the country from an Indian attack on Pakistani soil. In a message to the world, President Arif Alvi said, “Pakistan is capable of defeating internal and external threats.”

A ceremony was held at the GHQ, where Army Chief General Kamar Bajwa laid a wreath at the Martyrs Monument and observed a guard of honour. He emphasized that Pakistan will never abandon Kashmiris living under Indian occupation and that the Kashmir issue is an “unresolved agenda” of the realization of Pakistan and would remain so until a solution is found on the basis of the United Nations resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people.

He also said that state terrorism by India was at its peak in occupied Kashmir. “I want to assure the people of Kashmir, Pakistan will never leave them alone. The hearts of Pakistanis and Kashmiris beat together. Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to give every sacrifice for the people of Kashmir.” He added.

The army chief said that Pakistan today was delivering a message of peace, hope and prosperity.” We have always emphasized the importance of peace, prosperity and dialogue,” General Bajwa said, adding that the example of Afghanistan was evidence of this.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message, said that the entire country was united against India’s “illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive attempt” to alter the status of occupied Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.

The premier said September 6 stands out in Pakistan’s history as a “symbol of enduring display of unity, indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices by our gallant soldiers”.

He commended the sacrifices of the armed forces for ensuring the safety and security of the people of Pakistan .The premier said that today the “enemy” was once again showing “aggressive postures” on the Line of Control (LoC), adding that a “reign of terror” had been unleashed on the people of occupied Kashmir.

The Indian government had placed Kashmiri leaders under house arrest and imposed a strict curfew and communications blackout in the region before it repealed Article 370 of the constitution, revoking occupied Kashmir’s special status. The lockdown has now continued for a month.

“For Pakistan, Kashmir stands as its jugular vein. Altering its status poses challenges to Pakistan’s security and integrity. The fascist government is hell-bent upon suppressing the Kashmiri people’s just struggle against India’s illegitimate occupation, denying them their right to self-determination permissible under the United Nations resolutions,” Prime Minister Imran said.

Addressing a ceremony in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan applauded the statements made by the Pakistan Army and the head of the state.

“Independence and self-determination is our right, it is in our blood and no power in the world can deprive Kashmiris of their independence and right to self-determination,” he said.

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