‘Pakistan’ returns to the Valley | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Pakistan’ returns to the Valley

Over 100,000 people. One show of outrage. No violence. But there was something that hadn’t been there for a long time: pro-Pakistan slogans, reports Rashid Ahmad.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2008 00:08 IST
Rashid Ahmad

Over 100,000 people. One show of outrage. No violence. But there was something that hadn’t been there for a long time: pro-Pakistan slogans.

The protestors in Pampore, with green flags in their hands, were first swirling in circles, starting a slow-pitch slogan at the beat of their hand-claps. Then the pitch gradually rose with the hand-clapping becoming quicker.

The flags resembled the Pakistani national flag. Any confusion ended when a young man climbed the telecom tower hoisting a flag shouting pro-Pakistan slogans.

Moments later, separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, from the podium amplified those utterings: “Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan” The response was a roar. This was followed by another youth clambering up the tower. This time there was no doubt: it was the Pakistani flag. Thundering applause followed.

“More than love for Pakistan, it is anger against India that makes people raise pro-Pakistan slogans,” explains Tahir Mohiuddin, editor of the Urdu weekly Chattan. “Pro-Pakistani slogans are mostly raised near CRPF and army bunkers and positions. That reveals the state of mind of the slogan shouters”.

Speaking at the mammoth Pampore rally, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq announced that “the march across the LOC” would be undertaken against all odds. “We are holding a joint meeting [of both factions of the Hurriyat] on Sunday where future strategy would be discussed. We will then fix the date for the Muzaffarabad march too,” he added.

The rally ended peacefully. Was Pampore the lull before the storm?