Srinagar: Pakistan will be observing the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Friday. Every February 5, the country renews its pledge to support the Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom. Kashmir Reader asked top Kashmiri pro-freedom leaders about the significance of the date. Most of them were not aware of the historical importance of the date.
Dogra repression and solidarity rallies
In 1932, Lahore-based Kashmir Committee called for observing solidarity with Kashmiris on February 5, a year after Kashmiris had risen in revolt against Dogra maharaja. Late Maulana Syed Masoodi had led a rally in Khankah-e-Moula. Solidarity rallies were held in many parts of then united India such as Lucknow, Lahore, etc., according to columnist and writer ZG Mohammad. In 1975, after Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah signed the infamous accord with Indira Gandhi, then Paksitan prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto called for a strike in Pakistan and Kashmir on February 5 against the accord. According to Central University law teacher Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, the strike call received overwhelming response. The day was largely forgotten till 1990, when former Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain reminded then prime minister Benazir Bhutto of the Solidarity Day. She agreed to revive it and declared it as a national holiday.
Here is what pro-freedom leaders have to say about the day…
Mohammad Yasin Malik, chairman JKLF
Several massacres committed by Indian forces during January 1990 such as Gaw Kadal, Zakura and Byepass prompted Hussain to revive the solidarity day. It is a goodwill gesture from people of Pakistan.
Asiya Andrabi, Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief
The day has no historical significance. It was first held in 1994 as Youm-e-Atfaal, when I completed a year in jail along with my kid. The following year it was named as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Shabir Shah, Hurriyat (G) leader
There’s nothing historical about it but it is a symbolic day. Jamaat-e-Islami’s Qazi Hussain called for observing it to show solidarity with Kashmiris on 5 Febuary 1990. Pakistan government later decided to observe it every year.
Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, ex-Hurriyat chairman
Its significance is that on this day Pakistan pledged its support to the legitimate struggle of people here. First, on 5 February 1975 Zulfikar Ali Butto gave a strike call after Sheikh-Indira accord was signed. But after General Zia-ul-Haq assumed power, no such day was observed as he considered it as Bhutto’s concept till former Pakistan president General Parvez Musharraf, during whose rule it became an annual ritual.
Nayeem Khan, National Front chairman
This day has no historical significance. The day was observed to show solidarity with Kashmiris who were being massacred in the early 90s on the call of Qazi Hussain to raise awareness among Pakistanis.
Zahid Ali, Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir spokesman
On this day, either in 1948 or 1949, United Nation Security Council passed another resolution. It was started by the Jamaat-e-Islami but doesn’t know the exact date when it was first observed. But it was perhaps after 1990 and later the government of Pakistan adopted the day as a national day.