‘Kashmir Hour’ across Pakistan offers support for embattled India regions

Aug. 30 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of Pakistanis participated Friday in an observance to support the Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir territories after they were stripped of their autonomy this month.

Called “Kashmir Hour,” the national anthems of Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir played on all Pakistani radio and television channels as participants stood still in solidarity. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the demonstration to show unity with those living in the long-disputed regions.

“We must send a strong message to Kashmiris that our nation stands resolutely behind them,” Khan said on Twitter Friday.

Khan accused the Indian government of holding an “ethnic cleansing agenda” in the regions, saying it’s “a war crime under 4th Geneva Convention.” He also compared India’s government and its occupation of Jammu and Kashmir to Nazi Germany.

“I will raise the issue at the [United Nations] General Assembly,” Khan said. “We saw the effect of Nazi Germany on the world and millions died in the second world war as a result of it. If today the world does not stand against Modi’s fascist government, it will not stop here.”

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respond to Khan, opposition leader Rahul Gandhi rose to his former foe’s defense.

“I disagree with this Govt. on many issues. But, let me make this absolutely clear: Kashmir is India’s internal issue & there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it,” Gandhi tweeted.

Indian officials said they stripped the regions of autonomy because they’d become a harbor for terrorists. Modi and his party won re-election this year on the promise of the move.

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