Independence Day of Pakistan marked by Flag Hoisting at the High Commission

High Commissioner expresses solidarity with Kashmiris, calls for accountability of crimes against humanity in IIoJK

London:  The 74 th Independence Day of Pakistan was marked by a Flag Hoisting Ceremony at the Pakistan High Commission London today. High Commissioner Mohammad 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 view of the ongoing pandemic and social distancing guidelines by the UK Government and the Government of Pakistan, the ceremony was held indoors and was broadcast live on Mission's Facebook. Thousands participated virtually in the ceremony.

In his address to the community, the High Commissioner felicitated all Pakistanis on the Independence Day and prayed for the peace, prosperity and progress of the country. He said community's participation in great numbers always made us proud and we felt strengthened.

On this occasion, the High Commissioner paid glowing tributes to the Quaid-i-Azam, Allama Iqbal and other heroes of Pakistan Movement, who, through their unwavering resolve and visionary leadership created an independent state for the Muslims of the sub-continent. He said today we pay tribute to all those who rendered countless sacrifices, not only with their lives, but they also lost their families and belongings for a homeland where they and their future generations could live with freedom, dignity and equality.

Mr Zakaria said our elders achieved, nurtured and developed the newly born state of Pakistan with complete devotion. It is now our responsibility to ensure continued protection, growth and prosperity of our beloved Pakistan, he added. He also paid homage to armed forces and law enforcement personnel for rendering ultimate sacrifices in defending their motherland. Pakistan is a strong country today with impenetrable defence, he added.

Giving an overview of the economy, the High Commissioner shared that due to economic reforms of the government, Pakistan has attained economic stability and is on the road to development and prosperity. He said the current government is determined in realizing the true potential of Pakistan in all fields. In the region, Pakistan's economic prospects are manifested in the reports of the World Bank, JP Morgan, Moody's Bloomberg and other monitoring entities highlighting Pakistan as an attractive destination for investment, business and tourism, Mr Zakaria further said.

Mr Zakaria said the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on human lives and the economy of the world, however, due to pre-emptive response and effective policy, the Government of Pakistan has managed to keep the loss of lives and economy to a minimum. Pakistan is presented as a role model in the fight against the pandemic in the region where the situation is still worrisome, he said. He said the High Commission did its best to facilitate the stranded Pakistanis in the UK and repatriated over 4000 compatriots to Pakistan in an efficient manner. He also paid tribute to the Pakistani medics who saved lives during the pandemic; several of them lost their lives. Mr Zakaria said the British Pakistani philanthropists and volunteers made Pakistan proud by working tirelessly to help the vulnerable segments of the society.

Speaking about bilateral relations, the High Commissioner said the ties between Pakistan and the United Kingdom are rooted in shared history and have grown from strength to strength over decades. He commended the Pakistani diaspora for their vital role in the progress and development of the UK and Pakistan and for bringing the two countries closer. He also urged the diaspora and British investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities in Pakistan, particularly the opportunities arising from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Updating the community on the Kashmir situation, the High Commissioner paid rich tributes to the sacrifices of Kashmiris and commended their resolve for their right to self-determination in the face of worst oppression by Indian occupation forces. In contravention of the UN Charter, UN Security Council's Resolutions, International laws and conventions, India has been committing heinous crimes against defenceless Kashmiris, he said. He stated that it has been over a year that over 8 million Kashmiris in IIoJK remain under Indian military siege and inhumane communication blockade since 5 August 2019. Mr Zakaria said innocent and helpless people of Jammu & Kashmir under Indian occupation have been subjected for seven decades to genocide, massacres, mass rapes and mass blinding, which are well documented by the UN and other credible international organisations. The ultimate objective of India is to bring about demographic change in IIoJK through killings, enforced disappearances and enforced expulsions-an act which is in clear violation of Geneva Convention. He called upon the international community to play its role in ending human rights violations in IIoJK and bring perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice.

Mr Zakaria deeply appreciated the strong reaction from the British Parliamentarians against grave human rights violations in IIoJK and their continued support to the oppressed Kashmiris. However, he called upon the UK government to play its due role to end human sufferings in IIoJK. He reiterated Pakistan's unflinching political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of popular national songs, showing some beautiful short documentaries on Pakistan and cake cutting by the High Commissioner.

Similar events were held at other four Consulates of Pakistan in Birmingham, Bradford, Glasgow and Manchester.

August 14, 2020

Last updated: August 14, 2020

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