Call to oust Pakistan from PoK made in series of protests across Europe

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A series of protests in front of Pakistani High Commission and consulates in Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and London was held on Thursday. The protests were held to mark 'Black Day' on October 22.

October 22 is being observed as a Black Day, a reminder of Pakistan invading the Kashmir Valley on this day 73 years ago.

Urging Pakistan to leave the region and explaining the plight of his fellow PoK citizens, Sajjad Raja, chairman of National Equality Party, JKGBL, held protests on Thursday outside the Pakistan High Commission in London.

"Anybody who raises voice against the Pakistani Army and Pakistani occupation is put behind bars, is harassed, is tortured and even killed. We all are living in exile here," Sajjad Raja told India Today.

Pointing to the poor facilities and infrastructure in POK despite being occupied for 73 years by Pakistan, Raja said: "We want to create awareness and let the world know what's happening to us We have no basic human rights, we have no fundamental freedoms, we want to tell the world our miseries, our fate, which we are going through for last 73 years and we are pleading them to support us to so we can get rid of this occupation."

Similar protests were held on Thursday in front of the Pakistani consulates in Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford.

Another event was held in London on the 'Misadventures of Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir" on Thursday by Jammu Kashmir Study Centre.

Reflecting on the October 1947 invasion of Kashmir, Burzine Waghmar, member of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan SOAS, London, pointed out, "how Pakistan, barely two months old and teetering on bankruptcy as well as the basic attributes of a functioning state, nevertheless decided to launch not a conventional war but a jihadist operation against an independent kingdom. That Pakistan's state managers would do so is unsurprising since Jinnah was proud of the fact that Pakistan was founded on religious nationalism and was the then largest Muslim polity in the world. That jihad has been an abiding policy of the establishment seven decades on remains an unquestioned, sacrosanct fact."

A protest was also observed on Wednesday by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front's-Belgium branch, in front of Pakistan Embassy in Brussels-Belgium, against the illegal detention of political leaders in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan. They demanded the immediate and unconditional release of these prisoners.

Muhammad Ashfaq Qammar, deputy general secretary of JKLF Europe Zon, called Pakistan's move to declare Giljit Baltistan as their fifth province "illegal and unconstitutional".

"Historically, Giljit Baltistan is a part of Jammu and Kashmir. Our demands are very clear that Pakistan should be enforcing the state subject rules in the area and release unconditionally the political prisoners. We want a peaceful settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and only the people of the region should get the right to decide their future," Muhammad Ashfaq Qammar told India Today.

These events and protests might be held in different parts of Europe but they but their demand was one: removal of Pakistan from PoK; release of prisoners and making the world aware of the human rights violations and atrocities that the citizens of the region have been subjected to by Pakistan for the past 73 years.

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