For the past thirty years, Pakistan, including the occupied regions of Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (POGB), has been observing Kashmir Solidarity Day on 5 February each year. On this day, official ceremonies are held, and the government declares a public holiday.
Throughout Pakistan, including the self-governing territories of Azaad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, both governmental and non-governmental events were traditionally organized in all major cities on this occasion.
While abroad the diaspora and Pakistani citizens residing in foreign lands used to protest against India outside Indias embassies. So much so that in the 1990s, during the height of insurgency in Srinagar, leaders of the Hurriyat Conference were hailed as heroes in the Pakistani media, portraying the Indian government and military as oppressors.When it came to 5 February, a public holiday was declared to commemorate the demands of the late Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leader of the Jamaat-e-lslami, the Pakistan’s jihadist partner during the 1990s when proxy warfare was ongoing in Srinagar under the banner of jihad.
During this period, social media was non existent, so the general public in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan relied on state-controlled television channels to watch Kashmir files and read controlled newspapers. In those times, Islamabadians, Muzaffarabadis, and Gilgit residents considered themselves to be living in a paradise, while they perceived Srinagar as hell.
Over time, circumstances changed and with the advent of social media, the reality unfolded. People in the region began to understand that Srinagar was progressing more than Muzaffarabad, and Delhi was a better place than Islamabad.
Slowly but steadily, the significance of 5 February diminished. In the entire 2023, the non-state Azaad Jammu and Kashmir movement continued with protests against electricity bills, flour prices, taxes, and subsidies throughout the region. The historical protest lasted for a year.
In January meeting, the Joint Action Committee announced a shutdown and wheel-jam strike in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir from Neelum to Bhimber on 5 February. This decision shocked the Pakistani establishment.
Pakistan had never anticipated such a turn of events. For years, with the participation of Kashmiri people, Pakistan observed 5 February as a Black Day against India. However, this time 5 February 2024, instead of observing it against Delhi, the Kashmiris have decided to observe it against Islamabad. Times are changing, and everything is evolving.
The anticipated global-scale protests on 5 February 2024 will be directed against Pakistan. The faces of Pakistan, accustomed to deceiving people for thirty years, will shed their mask of sympathy, and Pakistan will be exposed before the world.
The protests in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir are intensifying. People have not paid electricity bills for eight months. Protests are ongoing in every city. Hatred towards Pakistan is growing. Today, the non-state Azad Jammu and Kashmir movement is demanding facilities similar to those in Srinagar. Whether one understands it or not, this is Pakistanis worst defeat.