India and Pakistan will mark their respective Independence Days with events emphasising their territorial stamp on the two divided parts of Kashmir.
While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will spend the day at Muzaffarabad, the capital of what it terms as ‘Azad Kashmir’, on independence day on August 14, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will unfurl the tricolour in Lal Chowk, the heart of Srinagar, a day later to underline that Jammu and Kashmir is the “crown” of India.
Imran Khan will observe Independence Day on Wednesday in solidarity with the Kashmiris in Muzaffarabad. He will address the Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, Radio Pakistan reported.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and opposition leader and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto were already in the AJK capital to celebrate Eid and as a show of support to the Kashmiri people.
The decision to dedicate Independence Day to the Kashmiris and their “just struggle for their right of self-determination” was made during a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, two days after India revoked Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP chief Amit Shah said in the Parliament last week that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and even Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are part of it.
“Kashmir is an integral part of India. I want to make it absolutely clear that every single time we say Jammu and Kashmir, it includes Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (including Gilgit-Baltistan) as well as Aksai Chin. Let there be no doubt over it. Entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India,” the Home Minister had said in the Parliament on August 6.
Pakistan has also announced that it will observe August 15, India’s Independence Day, as Black Day in protest against revoking special status to Kashmir, and flags will be flown half-mast in government and private institutions across Pakistan.