Azad Jammu and Kashmir announces public holiday on August 5

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The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has declared August 5 a holiday to express solidarity with the people of the Indian-administered Kashmir.

Last year on August 5, India repealed articles 35A and 370 of its Constitution, revoking special status granted to Indian-Administered Kashmir.

A large number of lawyers, civil society member and human rights activists came out on the streets of Muzaffarabad on Tuesday. They chanted slogans against the siege of Kashmir and staged a sit-in at the Azadi Chowk.

The protesters demanded that the United Nations should take notice of the Indian atrocities on Kashmiris and take steps to end it.

Pakistan, to express its support with the Kashmiris, has decided to observe Yaum-e-Istehsal on the first anniversary of the annexation of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the Legislative Assembly of AJK on August 5 to highlight the Kashmiri people’s struggle for freedom. President Dr Arif Alvi will lead a rally on the day, while all chief ministers will speak to their respective legislature assemblies to condemn the Indian brutalities on the people of the valley.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak visited the Line of Control to show to the people of Kashmir that they are standing with them.

Later, the Pakistan Post launched a postal stamp in solidarity with Kashmir. Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the commemorative stamp was an attempt to sensitise the world about the tortures faced by Kashmiris.

The Kashmir Highway has also been renamed the Srinagar Highway. Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said this highway will also be known as the ‘Road to Srinagar’.

What are Articles 35A and 370?

Last year, India locked down Indian-Administered Kashmir, cut off internet and cell phone services, put senior leaders under house arrest and deployed thousands of additional troops to the region.

Article 35A allowed the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly to define who is and isn’t a permanent resident of the state. It also allows the assembly to determine who gets state grants, who has the right to purchase land and property and who can permanently settle in the region. It also granted the assembly the power to restrict the rights of anyone who wasn’t a permanent resident.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granted special autonomy to the area. It allowed the state’s assembly to make its own Constitution and gave it autonomous state power.

Three decades of atrocities

Kashmir has been in the grip of an insurgency for three decades which has left tens of thousands dead, mainly civilians.

India and Pakistan have fought over Kashmir since their independence in 1947. Each claims the other’s sector and they have fought two of three wars over the territory.

Nearly 80,000 paramilitary forces have been flown into Kashmir in past 10 days, making it one of world’s most militarised region where India has roughly 500,000 troops.

Samaa Tv