Hundreds of Pakistanis have gathered near the LoC, in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) ready to infiltrate India for a ‘Freedom March’, two months after the Indian government abrogated Article 370 which gave separate status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Separatist group Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik’s supporters have organised this ‘rally’ which is to start from PoK and cross the LoC.
According to Pakistani media reports, hundreds of ‘protestors’ gathered in Muzaffarabad in PoK and are planning to cross over LoC and reach Srinagar. JKLF spokesperson Rafiq Dar was quoted by Pakistani news agencies as saying the Pakistanis have all the ‘legal rights’ to cross over the LoC because they “do not recognise the division of Kashmiris”. He even appealed to Pakistani troops to allow them to infiltrate.
As per reports, as many as 500 people including 50 women have gathered at PoK, ready to cross the LoC, with total number of ‘peaceful marchers’ pegged at 3,000.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to urge his citizens to not ‘play into the hand of Indian narrative’ by crossing the border.
a narrative that tries to divert from the indigenous Kashmiris’ struggle against brutal Indian Occupation by trying to label it as “Islamic terrorism” being driven by Pakistan. It will give India an excuse to increase violent oppression of Kashmiris in IOJK & attack across LoC
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 5, 2019
He said that infiltrating India en masse will only ‘divert narrative’ from the Kashmiris struggle and it will be labelled as ‘Islamic terrorism’ driven by Pakistan. Reminding his fellow brethren that India will not shy away from striking and even attack across the LoC if need be, Khan urged the separatists to back off.
Dar, meanwhile, is quite adamant of crossing over the LoC and reaching Srinagar. Pakistani authorities are claiming that they have taken strict security measures to ensure no such incident takes place. However, it remains to be seen how effective it is since there have been instances in the past when Pakistani security forces have actively aided cross-border terrorism and infiltration across the LoC.