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HomeWorldPakistan marks #KashmirHour — with sirens, slogans and ‘empty’ Lahore streets

Pakistan marks #KashmirHour — with sirens, slogans and ‘empty’ Lahore streets

As Imran Khan makes a bid to corner India on Article 370, Pakistan Twitter appears divided — some support PM's call, others make fun of it.

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New Delhi: Sirens blared across Pakistan as the clock struck 12 (noon) Friday. All the trains stopped in their tracks for a full minute and traffic signals in Islamabad turned red. The national anthem of Pakistan and “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” was played across the nation.

The first citizen of Pakistan, cricketer-turned-Prime Minister Imran Khan, led the moment outside the Prime Minister’s Office in the city, along with his special assistant Firdous Ashiq Awan. Several assembled Pakistanis stood stock still — just their voices could be heard, chanting, “Kashmir banega Pakistan”.

#KashmirHour, as the campaign was hashtagged on Twitter — actually it was half an hour — was being marked all across Pakistan against the abrogation of Article 370, which had, since 1950, given special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

Khan had announced Thursday that Pakistan would bring the world’s attention to this decision by marking #KashmirHour every Friday, until at least the UN General Assembly meetings in New York next month.

“Today, all of Pakistan, wherever there are Pakistanis, whether they are our students, or shopkeepers or labourers — today all of us are standing with our Kashmiris. Our Kashmiris are going through a very tough time,” said Imran Khan. “Until Kashmiris get their freedom, we will stand with them till the last breath,” he added, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.

Also read: PM Imran Khan wants citizens to stand for 30 mins every Friday for Kashmir. Ok, and do what?

And then there was the British-Pakistani journalist Gul Bukhari, also a columnist at ThePrint, who seemed to make light of the campaign.

She posted a short video of a woman TV anchor from Abb Tak TV, in dark glasses, standing on top of what looked like a truck and singing, “India ja ja/Kashmir se nikal ja…”

Twitter was clearly the weapon of choice this afternoon. Imran Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was most active on Twitter, sharing a video from media startup @redfishstream that likened the RSS to Hitler’s Brown Shirts.

Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi echoed the party sentiment, calling Prime Minister Modi the “Hitler of the East”.

Well-known Pakistani author and TV anchor Nasim Zehra tweeted “Hai haq humara azaadi” and said the slogan was resounding across D-Chowk in Islamabad.

Journalist Mosharraf Zaidi reported a good turn out.

Popular actress Mahira Khan, who co-starred with Shah Rukh Khan in the Bollywood movie Raees, tweeted to say that she “stood in solidarity with Imran Khan and the people of Kashmir”.

However, some Pakistanis couldn’t hide their scepticism.

Salman Rashid, travel writer and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, said in Lahore he “just climbed the roof to see how many morons were standing outside on the road. NOT A SOUL”. He ended his tweet with a particularly familiar South Asian expletive.

Bukhari pointed out that, instead of standing outside the parliament building like he had promised, Imran Khan had done a “U-turn”, leaving the chairman of the senate and the speaker to fill his shoes.

Dawn journalist Cyril Almeida, who has won several international awards for his fearless reporting, retweeted a post with the comment that “jihad isn’t a good look” for Pakistan at the moment.

And then there was Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, the daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, whose attention was focused on her ill father, who was brought to hospital from jail Thursday.

Her tweets centred on police allegedly keeping her sister Aseefa from meeting their father.

She left it to her brother Bilawal, the chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, to focus on Kashmir. The young Zardari tweeted: “Kashmir par sauda na manzoor (We will never do a deal on Kashmir).”

Also read: Kashmir Banega Pakistan: A dream sold to brainwash us since childhood now lies in tatters


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  1. Have these people ever apologized for the Bangladesh genocide? Pay tributes to the hapless Hazaras, Shias, Ahmedis, Christians and Hindus who face persecution through blasphemy laws, forced conversions, rapes and bomb blasts and slaughter?

    Only extreme left media outlets such as BBC will propagandize this nonsense from the religious extremist, Islamosupremacist terror entity that masquerades to be a country.

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