Kashmir Day or Kashmir Solidarity Day is a community holiday in Pakistan on February 5 each year. It focuses on showing Pakistan’s support and unity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, their ongoing freedom struggle, and to pay homage to Kashmiri martyrs who lost their lives fighting for Kashmir’s freedom.
Kashmir Solidarity Day, also known as 'Youm-e-Yakhjehti-e-Kashmir' has been pragmatic as a national holiday in Pakistan since 1990 as a day of protest against Indian control of part of Kashmir.
History of Kashmir Day
A non working day to emphasize the concern 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 Chief Minister at the time, and the Prime Minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto. The Pakistan People’s Party then declared February 5 as a public holiday.
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 feel they need to devote a significant portion of their national income to military budgets.
On Kashmir Day, all government, semi-government and private offices across Pakistan will 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 the Kashmir.
Kashmir Day is observed by people throughout Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK)
It is an internationally recognized day observed by people, predominantly Kashmiris, worldwide. The day is marked by public processions, special prayers in mosques for the liberation of Kashmir and protests that are carried out against the Indian oppression of Kashmir.
Kashmir Day is also of particular political importance to major political and religious parties in both Pakistan and AJK. Processions, rallies, conferences and seminars are organized by many political and religious parties where politicians, heads of religious organizations, opinion leaders, and influential public figures address the masses and speak to support the Kashmiri freedom movement. These leaders and spokespeople also advocate a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Long marches, and rallies sponsored by political organizations, religious parties and other organizations are held, in which people chant slogans to support the Kashmiri freedom struggle and to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
Another common spectacle is the formation of a human chain on all major routes leading to AJK from Pakistan. People stand in rows with their hands clasped forming a human chain on all major crossings into AJK from Pakistan. This symbolizes unity and solidarity to reassure Kashmiris that they are not alone in their struggle for freedom.
Special cultural programs and festivals are also held to promote Kashmiri culture and tradition. News and entertainment Radio channels air special programs, talk shows on FM1OO Pakistan, dramas and Kashmiri songs about the oppression and brutalities suffered by Kashmiris over the years. Educational institutions organize debate competitions and dialogue forums where students express their views and ideas for resolving Kashmiri-related issues.
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