ISLAMABAD: Pakistan observed a ‘Black Day’ on Thursday to coincide with India’s Independence Day celebrations, in protest at New Delhi’s decision to revoke a special status for its portion of the contested Kashmir region.
India’s decision this month, along with a communications blackout and curbs on the movement of those in Indian-administered Kashmir, caused fury in Pakistan, which cut trade and transport links and expelled India’s envoy in retaliation.
Newspapers in Pakistan printed editions with black borders on Thursday and politicians, including prime minister Imran Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares.
Protests are due to be held across the country, including Azad Kashmir, the wedge of territory in the west of the region that Pakistan controls.
The largely symbolic move comes amid growing frustration in Islamabad at the lack of international response over the Kashmir dispute.
Pakistan was isolated diplomatically and faced “a world in denial” over the situation in Kashmir, Dawn, the country’s most influential English language newspaper, said in an editorial.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council could discuss the dispute as soon as Thursday, but Pakistan says it only has guaranteed support from China, which also claims part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state.
Permanent security council member Russia said on Wednesday it supported India’s stance that the dispute should be resolved through bilateral means, while the United States has called India’s decision an internal matter for New Delhi.
In his Independence Day speech in the Indian capital, prime minister Narendra Modi highlighted the decision to remove the special rights of the Muslim-majority region among the bold moves of his second term, following an election victory in May.
“Today every Indian can proudly say ‘One Nation, One Constitution’,” Modi, speaking from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, said of the decision.