LAHORE - The federal cabinet here yesterday announced to observe black day on Tuesday (July 19) to raise voice against the brutality by the Indian forces in Held Kashmir, where over three dozen people have lost their lives at their hand, and to express solidarity with Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination.

Meeting at Governor’s House with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair, the cabinet condemned the savagery of the Indian forces in the occupied valley and decided to take up Kashmir issue at the UN with a renewed spirit.

It also decided to convene joint session of the Parliament next week to discuss situation in Kashmir and continue extending diplomatic, moral and political support to Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination since 1948. The cabinet meeting further resolved to step up diplomacy to highlight the Kashmir at the international level.

Addressing the cabinet, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described killing of innocent Kashmiris at the hand of Indian forces as a big threat to the regional peace.

The Indian army-led violence, starting on July 8 after killing of 22-year-old Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani a day earlier, has so far claimed the lives of 38 Kashmiris including women and children, besides injuries to over 2,000 others.

The prime minister termed Burhan Wani ‘soldier of freedom’ and said, the more the Indian forces suppressed Kashmiris struggle, the stronger it would come out. He said Pakistani nation stood with Kashmiris at this difficult hour. Every measure would be adopted to awaken the world conscience to current solution and to get plebiscite conducted in Kashmir for determining the choice of the people living there, he added.

Nawaz Sharif said Indian government has deployed 700,00 troops in Held Kashmir but they would not be able to deter the people and deny them their right. He said Kashmiris are out to free themselves from the usurpation of India and their struggle would succeed in the long run. He lamented that India dubbed Kashmiris’ freedom movement as terrorism and added, Indian propaganda can neither weaken their movement nor misguide the world community.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Aizaz Ch briefed the Cabinet on the steps taken by the government in the wake of brutal action by the Indian troops in Kashmiris. He informed that strong protest was lodged with the Indian government through the Indian High Commissioner while Kashmir issue has also been raised at the UN. He said foreign diplomats have been informed about the situation.

The cabinet decided to expedite efforts for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and as a first step the government would agitate the matter at the United Nations to remind, Kashmir was an ‘unfinished agenda’ of that forum. Hence renewed efforts would be made to get the UN resolutions on plebiscite in Kashmir implemented.

The cabinet also instructed Foreign Affairs ministry to mobilise Pakistan missions to tell the world about the atrocities in Kashmir.

Declaration issued after the meeting said it was regrettable that India once again tried to suppress the voice of Kashmiris, considering them slaves and martyred the representative of new generation, Burhan Wani. “India has to understand that hearts cannot be won with the use of force.”

The cabinet said Pakistan would play its role in ‘awakening the conscience’ of international community. All institutions of Pakistan would highlight the tyranny of Indian forces. Pakistan and Kashmir are linked with a relationship of history and tradition, and the people of Pakistan consider the pains and pleasures of the Kashmiris of their own, it said.

The cabinet asked India to hold dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir issue and also include Kashmiri leaders in it.

The cabinet also approved to increase the upper age limit for CSS examination from 28 to 30 year.