Foreign Office Pakistan holds Kashmir Solidarity Day Art Exhibition

Qureshi asks opposition to support South Punjab constitution amendment

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ISLAMABAD: To honor the valiant struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination and to highlight the widespread human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), an art exhibition was held here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Kashmir Solidarity Day activities.

Young artists from the National College of Arts Rawalpindi, COMSATS University Islamabad and Rawalpindi Women University participated in the exhibition.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his keynote address emphasized the importance of harnessing the potential of arts to provide insights into Kashmiris’ peaceful resistance movement.

He said that despite the sealing of borders, denial of access to neutral observers, and propagating disinformation, Kashmiris could not be silenced or subdued by Indian occupation forces.

The pattern of ongoing atrocities in IIOJK reflected the anti-peace and anti-Muslim ‘Hindutva’ agenda of extremist RSS-BJP dispensation. The continued Indian oppression has only strengthened the will of the Kashmiris to stand firm in their just struggle.

He highlighted that when people started disseminating reality through arts and music, it made a huge difference and the process had already begun in IIOJK.

He called upon the international community to peacefully resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with international legitimacy.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andaleeb Abbas and Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Afridi in their remarks underscored the important role of arts in highlighting the plight of Kashmiris in IIOJK.

They called on the international community to deliver on its promise to the Kashmiris for the attainment of their inalienable right to self-determination as was pledged by numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

The Foreign Secretary presented Kashmir Solidarity Day mementos to guest speakers.

A song ‘Meray Kashmir’ was presented by Kashmiri singer Zohaib Zaman to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Members of the diplomatic corps, Kashmiris, former Ambassadors, civil society, academia and artists from various academic institutions also attended the event. Adding to this, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday asked the opposition to support the constitutional amendment required for the creation of South Punjab province if they were really sincere for the cause.

The foreign minister, in a statement, criticized Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for not even responding to his letter on the subject.

He said a report by the United Nations Development Program had also endorsed his viewpoint calling South Punjab the most backward region.

Qureshi said he had re-sent his letters to Bilawal Bhutto and Shahbaz Sharif along with the UNDP’s statistics.

He also asked the opposition to seriously consider the matter and support the constitutional amendment keeping in view the ground realities.

“They should not impede the creation of the South Punjab province, even if Bilawal Bhutto and Shahbaz Sharif keep in view their political interest,” Qureshi added.

The foreign minister said the South Punjab province could not be created by merely criticizing the government rather it would require a constitutional amendment.

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