New Delhi, February 5: Islamabad was unable to hold an event in Kabul to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day on Wednesday after the booking for a venue made by the Pakistani embassy was cancelled, people familiar with developments said.
Kashmir Solidarity Day, a national holiday in Pakistan, is observed on February 5 across the country and in cities around the world to express support for separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. The event is often marked by anti-India speeches by Pakistani leaders.
The Pakistani embassy in Kabul had booked a venue at the Intercontinental Hotel for holding the Kashmir Solidarity Day event but the booking was cancelled, the people cited above said.
The Pakistani mission formally protested to the Afghan foreign ministry about the cancellation of the booking in a letter sent on Tuesday, which claimed the move was the outcome of “instructions given by the Afghan government” to the manager of Intercontinental Hotel.
The letter further said the hotel’s manager called the Pakistani deputy head of mission and “conveyed about cancellation of booking for above-mentioned event”.
“Keeping in view the friendly relations between the two countries, the embassy hopes that cooperation will be extended by the Afghan government to [the Pakistani] Embassy to host its political, economic, and cultural events at suitable place,” the letter said.
There was no immediate response to the letter from the Afghan government.
Sections of the Afghan leadership have been critical of Pakistan’s support to terror groups active in the region. Afghanistan has also traditionally distanced itself from the Kashmir issue, describing it as a matter to be handled bilaterally by India and Pakistan.
Kashmir Solidarity Day was first observed at the call of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1991. During this year’s event, Prime Minister Imran Khan told a special session of legislative assembly of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that the Indian government’s decision last year to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir will eventually lead to the region’s “independence”. (HT)