LONDON: Pakistani diaspora celebrated their 73rd Independence Day on Wednesday with absolute solidarity with the Kashmiri people. The national day was marked by flag hoisting ceremony at the Pakistan High Commission here.
A large number of people including MEPs, community leaders, members of Pakistani community, FCO officials, British friends of Pakistan and representatives of media attended the ceremony.
High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria hoisted the national flag on the tunes of the National Anthem. The messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on the occasion.
In his address to the community, High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria highlighted the plight of Kashmiri people in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, especially due to India’s recent illegal actions including imposition of curfew, deployment of additional paramilitary troops, killing and maiming of innocent Kashmiris and attempting to alter the demographic structure of Jammu & Kashmir region.
He condemned the complete blackout in the Valley by India in violation of international law and relevant conventions. He also highlighted how India would be emboldened in its rampage of gross human rights violations in IoK if gone unchecked and unpunished. He urged the international community to call India to account for its heinous genocidal crimes in IoK, reverse the attempt to change its demographic nature, and resolve the dispute in accordance with UNSC Resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
He added that ‘Pakistan has always extended its moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination. Pakistani nation stands in solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their hour of grief. Our leadership has been swift in taking all possible actions to advise the international community of the grave risks this Indian illegal move potentially entails’.
High Commissioner also forewarned of the perils to regional peace and security due to Indian illegal actions in IoK.
The High Commissioner appreciated members of British Parliament, Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora and other communities for their solidarity with the Kashmiri people. He especially called upon the P5 members to act promptly in recognizing the gravity of the situation.
He also highlighted Pakistan’s improved investment portfolio and security situation, underscored the emergence of a highly digitized youth and consumer market and stressed upon Pakistani Diaspora in UK to play their effective role in bringing investment into Pakistan, particularly under the ambit of CPEC projects.
Mr. Zakaria underlined the resolve and statesmanship of the Pakistani leadership in handling difficult situations facing the country, including the current situation in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
On Pakistan-UK relations, the High Commissioner underscored the importance of deep rooted bilateral ties, and informed that constant stream of high level visits from the UK to Pakistan is another manifestation of our mutually beneficial relations.
Ms. Sarah Peters, distinguished artist belonging to Pakistan’s Christian community sang beautiful national songs in her melodic voice, Mr. Salman Amanat Ali Khan, grandson of the renowned Pakistani legend Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, and Mr. Sohail, another local artist, also entertained the guests with the melodious tunes of Pakistan’s national songs.
In the end, High Commissioner and his spouse cut the special cake prepared for the occasion. He was joined by colleagues from FCO, CEO UBL UK, Pakistani community members, children and Mr. Ahmad Nawaz, a Pakistani student currently studying in the UK and an APS survivor. Similar events were held at other four Consulates of Pakistan in Birmingham, Bradford, Glasgow and Manchester.