Srinagar: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), has said that he and his party throw their lot with the people of Kashmir in their ‘genuine freedom struggle’ and express solidarity with them “in their hard time and grief”.
Bilawal telephoned Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric and chairman of his faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference alliance, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Thursday also to say that his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and mother Benazir Bhutto had “extreme love and longing for the people of Kashmir and their political philosophy has served as beacon light and source of inspiration on vital issues including Kashmir for him.”
He assured Mirwaiz, “They loved people of Kashmir from the core of their hearts and I represent that legacy only...my heart goes out to the people of Kashmir particularly those who have lost their dear ones in firings by Indian troops and I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
Bilawal also informed the Mirwaiz that the PPP will be joined by several other like-minded parties in Pakistan to hold rallies in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
Later on Thursday, he wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com “Spoke to @MirwaizKashmir & expressed condolences, condemnation & solidarity with the people of #Kashmir ”.
Mirwaiz replying to his tweet said, “Appreciate the support & concern of the people of Pakistan and their leadership @BBhuttoZardari”.
Pakistan had on Sunday alleged that Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the new-age poster boy of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, whose killing on July 8 triggered a new wave of protests across Kashmir Valley was slain by Indian troops in a fake encounter. India strongly objected to it the remark.
Nafees Zakaria, Foreign Spokesperson in Islamabad, said, “The extra-judicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable.” The spokesperson added, “Such acts are a violation of the fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and cannot deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realisation of the Right to Self Determination”.
The ‘extra-judicial’ killing charge was reiterated by Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi during a debate on human rights at the 193-member UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Earlier Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to convey Islamabad's "serious concerns over the recent killings of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and many other civilians in Kashmir". In a separate statement, Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif expressed "shock" at the killing of Wani as well as the use of "excessive and unlawful" force to quell civilian protests in the Valley.
New Delhi reacted by describing Pakistan as "a country that covets the territory of others and uses terrorism as state policy towards that misguided end."
Meanwhile, the death toll in days of violence has risen to 38 as another youth identified as Irfan Dar succumbed to his injuries in Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) on Thursday morning. He had been admitted there on Monday after CRPF personnel allegedly hit him with a rifle butt in head causing a severe haemorrhage during a protest in Kulgam district. Over 1,500 people have been injured in clashes since Friday night. Officials said, at least, one policeman has also been killed and more than 150 injured in mob violence.
Kashmir Valley remained under curfew for the sixth consecutive days on Thursday and the restrictions are likely to stay for another day as Friday being a “very sensitive” day, the authorities are extra care to ensure no fresh major incidents of violence take place. A report from Kokernag in Anantnag district said that irate youth torched the private house in the area’s Bemdora village where Wani had been trapped along with two associated and subsequently killed by members of the J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and troops from Army’s 19 Rashtriya Rifles on July 8.