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Wednesday Feb 06 2019
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Massive show of support for Kashmiris at Downing Street protest

LONDON: British Kashmiris and Pakistanis have called on the British government to end its silence over the genocide of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces and take up the issue of killings, rapes, and torture of Kashmiris by Narendra Modi's government.

During a huge show of solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir, hundreds of Kashmiris gathered outside 10 Downing Street for Kashmir Solidarity Day protest. Arguably, this was the largest demonstration in support of Kashmiris in any western capital by Kashmiri and Pakistani groups in recent memory. For the weekdays, this could be counted as the largest demonstration on a working day ever on Kashmir.

The World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP) had issued a call to Kashmiri and Pakistani groups to take part in the protest. WCOP President Naheed Randhawa had said in a statement that the entire Pakistani nation stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their valiant struggle to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination. "It is responsibility of all of all of us to take a stand for the people of Kashmir. It is our firm belief that Kashmiris will succeed in their struggle," he had said.

Britain is home to around 1.5 million Pakistanis and Kashmiris and of these around a million trace their roots back to Azad (free) Kashmir and most of them have blood relations with Kashmiris across the border in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The protestors started gathering at around noon outside Prime Minister Theresa May's residence. After around an hour, at least 1,000 demonstrators had reached from mainly Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Bradford, Luton, London, Stoke-on-Trent, and many other cities. All parties including PPP, PTI, PMLN and community organisations issued the call for the demonstration.

In Pakistan, a public holiday was announced and solidarity day was commemorated throughout the world to show support for the Kashmiri people who, every day, fight the aggression and violence perpetrated by the occupying Indian army and security forces.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahamood Qureshi is leading a delegation of all parties' parliamentary delegation. Leaders from Azad Kashmir are also in London to lobby the British parliamentarians. A one-minute silence was observed at 10am in Pakistan to pay homage to the martyrs of the liberation struggle of Occupied Kashmir.

Protestors outside 10 Downing Street chanted slogans against Indian government and called on the international community to take notice of the Indian barbarity. They said that Britain had a moral obligation to intervene and help resolve the issue of Kashmir. The protestors said that Britain and other western governments have cut business deals with Narendra Modi and ignored the grievances of Kashmiris.

The protestors said that the mammoth show of support for Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir showed that the freedom movement is getting strength with every passing day. They deplored that seven decades have passed and the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir remains unresolved but while the delay has occurred an entire generation of Kashmiris is being wiped out by the terrorist Indian army.

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a meeting in the British parliament that humanity was bleeding in Occupied Kashmir since not a single action was taken against the people involved in the state-sponsored murders, torture, and rape.

"Worst human rights abuses being perpetrated by India just because Kashmiris want right of self-determination; we are here to express support to Kashmiris and all those who love freedom against Indian oppression," Qureshi, who was speaking at the International Kashmir Conference, said.

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