Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived separately in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) capital Muzaffarabad on Sunday night to celebrate Eidul Azha and show solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
They offered Eid prayers alongside AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider in Muzaffarabad on Monday and will spend the festival in the region.
Later in a rally, Qureshi said he had come to Muzaffarabad to “congratulate” the Kashmiris because he had been “successful in securing the power of attorney” of China.
FM Qureshi added, “they [Chinese government] have told me to tell Prime Minister Imran Khan that China will stand with him when he presents Kashmir’s case before the United Nations.”
Qureshi paid tribute to those soldiers who were martyred while defending the region and those who were protecting the Line of Control (LoC) even on the occasion of Eid. He also assured Kashmiri people of Pakistan’s support.
Earlier, Bilawal had criticized the government for its response to Indian government’s decision to took away occupied Kashmir’s special status. In a conversation with reporters, he demanded the government to “show leadership”. He said that the PPP will play its role but at the moment, Kashmiris were “looking up at the government”.
Bilawal added, “government’s job is to show leadership and stand by its people in tough times. This is an attack on national solidarity and the Kashmir cause. [The government] is giving us [the opposition] the message that ‘your support is not required.”
Earlier today, Qureshi told reporters that the Kashmir dispute was “above politics and [personal] interests”. He is expected to visit a Kashmiri refugees’ camp today and will address a joint press conference with AJK prime minister.
The foreign minister said yesterday that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Muzaffarabad on Aug 14 and address the AJK Legislative Assembly. Qureshi also offered Eid felicitations to the Kashmiri people on Prime Minister Imran’s behalf.
The Indian government this week rushed through a presidential decree to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Indian occupied Kashmir, as tensions mounted in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.
Islamabad has strongly protested against the revoking of Article 370 and has suspended diplomatic ties with India.