SRINAGAR: The Pakistan Post has issued 20 “commemorative” postage stamps portraying slain Kashmiri militants and some others what it called as “victims of atrocities by Indian troops in Kashmir”.
According to ‘Kashmir Pen’, a senior official of Pakistan Post told that the stamps — many with disturbing images — were issued from its headquarters in Karachi on July 24 to express Pakistan’s solidarity with Kashmiris in their “fight against the Indian oppression” and to locally and internationally highlight the plight of people living under “India occupation”.
The newspaper in its report on 20th September this year reported that along with the images, the stamps carry captions such as ‘use of chemical weapons’, ‘use of pellet guns’, ‘mass graves’, ‘braid chopping’ and ‘Burhan Wani (1994-2016) freedom icon’, the report said. Wani was killed in an encounter along with two of his associates by government forces in Bamdoora village of Anantnag district on July 8, 2016.
The series of 20 postal stamps titled ‘Atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir’, which are on sale on e-Bay and a few other online trading sites, were issued on ‘Kashmir Martyrs Day’ by the Philately Bureau, Karachi. The pictures are that of militants killed in encounters in the past few years and several other pictures taken during the turbulent months of attacks and encounter killings that rocked the Valley. The stamps are available on e-bay for 6.99 dollars (approximately Rs 500). In Pakistan, the stamps are sold at Rs8 (local currency) per piece.
Subjects of the stamps include ‘over 100,000 Kashmiris martyred’, ‘homeless children’, ‘children abuse’, ‘freedom struggle’, ‘fake encounters’, ‘women harassment’ and ‘bleeding Kashmir’.
After it called off talks between the foreign ministers, India last week issued a demarche to Pakistan over the issue of commemorative postage stamps glorifying Hizbul activist Burhan Wani whose killing in 2016 had led to another wave of unrest in the valley.
Diplomatic sources said Pakistan was asked to immediately withdraw these stamps. India had mentioned it as one of the reasons for cancelling talks between foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart Shah M Qureshi on the sidelines of the UNGA. While the stamps were first issued in July this year, Indian authorities have said that the stamps were re-issued around the time India confirmed the Swaraj-Qureshi meeting after receiving a proposal for the same from Pakistan PM Imran Khan.
India had said the release of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist had confirmed that Pakistan was not going to mend its ways. India had also blamed brutal killings of Indian security personnel by Pakistan based entities in its statement announcing cancellation of the dialogue 24 hours after it was announced.