Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Wednesday said his country will fully defend itself, if a war is imposed, as tensions ratcheted up in the region, following India’s revocation of special status to Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. "Muslims do not want war, but we will not step back if we are forced into it,” he said.
Addressing a flag hoisting ceremony in Islamabad, as Pakistan celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, Alvi retreated commitment to the cause of right to self-determination of Jammu and Kashmir, state-run Pakistan Television reported.
He warned that the war with India will be not limited between the two countries, rather its impact will be felt in the whole world.
“We are for Kashmiris and they are for us. Their plight and affliction affects us”, he said, adding “Pakistan does not accept the efforts to change the demographic composition of occupied territory.”
The Independence Day was marked as a solidarity day with the people of Jammu Kashmir. For the first time, Pakistani and Pakistan administered Kashmir’s flags were hoisted, on all the government and private buildings.
The President asked Pakistani citizens to post videos and photographs related to Kashmir.
“We will not leave them alone at any step. Kashmiris are our people and we think of their pain as our pain,” he said.
The day began with gun salutes in the federal capital Islamabad and four provincial capitals -- Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta -- and Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan regions.
The change of guard ceremony was held at the mausoleums of father of nation, Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, and the national poet, Allama Mohammad Iqbal in Lahore.
Traffic came to stand still across the country as the national anthem was played at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT).
Carrying Pakistani and Kashmir flags, thousands took part in Kashmir solidarity rallies across the country.