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Kashmir Day or Pakistan Solidarity Day? – Noushah Arshad

“Yes! We have a holiday tomorrow. I will wake up late, have a nice and healthy brunch, watch a couple of movies and have a wonderful time.” Do these words seem familiar to you? It is how almost all of us think when we realize that we have a holiday on 5 February. Unfortunately most of us have been thinking this way since this national holiday wan announced in 1990.

The day was given free in order to provide sympathetic and political support for the Muslims of occupied Kashmir. It was named as Kashmir Solidarity Day. I remember a few earlier years when this issue was highlighted strongly through paper and print media. A few minutes on the national television channel were daily dedicated to the cause in order to show support and unity with Kashmiris and their ongoing struggle for freedom. People used to discuss this issue on a very serious note. Our teachers always talked about it and we felt a strong relationship with our Muslim brothers and sisters who have been struggling for freedom since the independence of Pakistan.

The feelings and behaviors seem to have changed with time now. People don’t bother to talk about it much; rather they are busy in enjoying this national holiday. I wonder if anyone of us even tries to pray for them once on this day or once in a year. The special programs on various channels and in educational institutions are fading the essence of the day slowly. They are becoming more of cultural and commercial events.

Personally, I don’t think if we really show solidarity with people of occupied Kashmir. We have many other issues to discuss and be worried about. In 1990 it was just occupied Kashmir that required our prayers and attention on national level. But in 2014 it is not only one area; it’s the whole country that is in need of our prayers and support, and this time, not only on national but international level. It’s not just Kashmir, it’s Waziristan, tribal areas, Quetta, Karachi and so many other areas that are suffering today.

Today we need to show our solidarity for people all over Pakistan and Kashmir who are suffering in the name of war against terrorism. And this is not restricted to a number of areas. The whole country needs our prayers, our strength and support. If Kashmir is the heaven on earth so is Pakistan. We are nothing without our homeland.

5 February is not the holiday to celebrate by watching movies and spending time in useless activities. It is the day to realize the importance of Kashmir for Pakistan and importance of Pakistan for us. At least we can pray for the freedom of Kashmir and for peace and prosperity of Kashmir and Pakistan.

“I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word:
Mahmoud Darwish

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