The Pakistani national anthem and an anthem for Kashmir played across television and radio, while traffic came to a standstill, traffic lights were switched off and trains stopped, as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s campaign to draw global attention to the plight of the divided Himalayan region.
“We are with them in their testing times. The message that goes out of here today is that as long as Kashmiris don’t get freedom, we will stand with them,” Khan told thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Islamabad.
The Muslim-majority region has long been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed Indian and Pakistan. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full.
India stripped its part of Kashmir of a special status on August 5, blocking the right of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame its own laws and allowing non-residents to buy property there.
The government said the reform would facilitate Kashmir’s development, to the benefit of all, but the decision by the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi infuriated many residents of the region.
India’s decision also angered Pakistan, which cut trade and transport ties and expelled India’s ambassador.
The U.N. Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the region.
(Production: Salahuddin, Salman Rao, Naeem Abbas, Waseem Sattar, Sheree Sardar)