LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Kashmir is not an internal matter of India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said today and demanded a plebiscite even as the Pakistan government's call to observe 'Black Day' to express solidarity with the people of the Valley received a lukewarm response from the public.
"Today we are observing Black Day to express solidarity with Kashmiris and are giving a strong message to the world that Pakistanis are with them (Kashmiris) for their struggle to get their rights," Sharif said in his message.
"India cannot suppress the voice of Kashmiris through force as they will eventually get freedom. The UN has declared Kashmir a disputed territory and India should hold plebiscite to respect the rights of Kashmiris. Terming Kashmir issue internal matter of India is not justifiable," he said.
Sharif alleged that India was committing human rights violation in Kashmir which is a matter of great concern for the world community. He had earlier directed all departments to highlight the Kashmir issue at international fora.
To observe the 'Black Day', all officials of federal and provincial governments wore black band on duty to express "political, moral and diplomatic support" to Kashmiris.
The only big show the political or religious parties put up in connection with showing solidarity with Kashmiris was that of mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack Hafiz Saeed-led Jammat-ud-Dawah in Islamabad.
The ruling PML-N held no rally in major cities like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. In Lahore, it only held a function at Alhamra Hall which was poorly attended.
Jammat-i-Islami remained on forefront and held rallies in Multan, Bahawalpur and Faisalabad. It held also All-Party Conference in Lahore on Kashmir issue. Rallies were also held under the banner of some other religious parties in some other cities.
As the ruling party could not observe the 'black day' emphatically it chose to give advertisements to electronic media about alleged Indian atrocities and Kashmir people's struggle. The TV channels ran the ads throughout the day.
Saeed saved the day for the Sharif government as his 'Kashmir Caravan' reached Islamabad today after covering 300km Lahore-Islamabad distance in more than 24 hours.
According to the JuD media team, thousands of people reached Islamabad on buses, cars and motorcyles.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq asked the US to play a role in ensuring the grant of the right of self determination to the Kashmiris.
In a meeting with US Consul General in Lahore Zachary Herkinrider, Haq asked him to use the US influence in stopping alleged repression of the Indian forces in Kashmir.
Over 40 people have been killed in Kashmir in the clashes since Hizbul commander Burhan Wani's killing on July 8.