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‘Black Day’ in Pakistan, Hizbul Mujahideen march in PoK

India’s decisionto revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir has caused fury in Pakistan

By Reuters and PTI in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad
  • Published 16.08.19, 12:01 AM
  • Updated 16.08.19, 12:01 AM
  • a min read
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A Pakistani protester beats a burning effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in Quetta, Pakistan, on August 15, 2019. (AP)

 Pakistan observed a “Black Day” on Thursday to coincide with India’s Independence Day celebrations, as one of the main militant groups led a protest through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India’s decision this month to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir, along with a communications blackout and curbs on movement, has caused fury in Pakistan.

Supporters of the Hizbul Mujahideen were among more than 1,000 people who marched through Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK, holding black flags and shouting anti-India slogans.

“As long as India continues its occupation of Kashmir, we will fight within the occupied territory, with full force,” Hizb deputy commander Saifullah Khalid told the crowd. “Until the eviction of the last Indian soldier, our armed struggle will go on.”

Newspaper issues carried black borders and politicians, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares. Flags on government buildings flew at half-mast.

Pakistan’s largely symbolic “Black Day” comes amid growing frustration in Islamabad at the lack of international response over the Kashmir dispute.

Pakistan will confer top military awards to two of its air force officers for showing valour during an aerial combat with India in February, President Arif Alvi has announced.

Wing Commander Muhammad Nouman Ali, who downed an Indian Air Force jet piloted by Abhinandan Varthaman on February 27, will be conferred with the Sitar-e-Jurat. Squadron Leader Hassan Mahmood Siddiqui will be awarded the Tamgha-e-Shujaat.

The investiture ceremony will be held on March 23 next year after the Pakistan Day parade in the capital, the Pakistan Army said in a statement.

India has already announced the Vir Chakra, India’s third highest gallantry award during wartime, for Varthaman.