Thousands rally in Pakistani Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD: Thousands of Kashmiris rallied here today to protest continued Indian “occupation” of the Himalayan region.

The rally was set up by the United Jihad Council (UJC), which consists of 16 militant groups.

A crowd of around 3,000 people shouted “Al-Jihad”, “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and “We want Freedom” as they gathered in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, news reports said.

“Diplomacy, talks and negotiations spanned over several decades have not worked,” said Syed Salahuddin, chairman of the UJC.

“The only way to liberate Kashmir is jihad and armed struggle because India does not understand the language of dialogue,” said Salahuddin, who also leads Hizbul Mujahedin, a militant group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

The protestors waved black flags and shouted: “Our struggle will continue till Kashmir is freed”, and condemned Indian “brutalities”, as Salahuddin appealed to the government and people of Pakistan to fully support Kashmiri independence.

Kashmiri people observe October 27 as “black day” every year to protest the arrival of Indian troops and their invasion of the Himalayan region in 1947.

Prime Minister of Pakistani Kashmir, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed also addressed a separate gathering in Muzaffarabad in connection with the “black day”, and urged the international community to stop India from committing serious human rights violations in the mountain region.

“A durable solution to the problem is possible only if Kashmiris are allowed to exercise their right to self-determination under the UN resolutions,” he added. Agencies

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