Pakistan’s Khan leads nationwide protests against India over Kashmir

Source:AFP Published: 2019/8/30 21:18:40

Thousands rallied across Pakistan on Friday in mass demonstrations protesting Delhi's actions in Indian-controlled Kashmir in the most ambitious public protests targeting India in years.  

At noon, sirens rang out across the country followed by broadcasts of the national anthems of Pakistan and Kashmir, while traffic ground to a halt for several minutes in solidarity with the rallies.

In the capital Islamabad, thousands gathered on Constitution Avenue in front of the government offices where Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation and vowed to continue fighting for Kashmir until the ­disputed Himalayan territory was "­liberated."

"We will stand with Kashmir until our last breath," said Khan, while launching into a blistering attack on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The demonstration was the first in what will be weekly rallies held nationwide until Khan leaves for New York next month to attend the UN ­General Assembly, where he vowed to raise the Kashmir issue.

Tensions have soared between the nuclear-armed rivals in the wake of Modi's move to strip India's portion of ­Kashmir of its autonomy and bring it under Delhi's direct rule.

The area is currently in its fourth week of a wide-ranging communications blackout with severe restrictions on movement. Thousands of people have been incarcerated in the crackdown. 

In the weeks since the move, Khan has launched a wide-ranging diplomatic offensive to counter Delhi, while vowing to fight India "until the end" if attacked and making occasional references to the possible outbreak of nuclear conflict. 

Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the arch-rivals.


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