New Delhi: Pakistan's 73rd Independence Day was celebrated at the country's High Commission here on Wednesday, during which its acting high commissioner read out a message sent by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"Let me reassure our Kashmiri brethren that we stand by them and Pakistan will continue to provide its political, moral and diplomatic support to their just struggle for self-determination," Khan was quoted as saying in the message read out by Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah.
Khan's statement comes amid tensions between the two countries after India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two Union territories.
Reacting to India's move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded bilateral ties and expelled New Delhi's envoy in Islamabad Ajay Bisaria, who returned last week. Pakistan has also decided to not send its newly appointed High Commissioner Moin-ul-Haque to India.
India has maintained its decision on Jammu and Kashmir was its internal affair and urged Islamabad to review its decision to downgrade the diplomatic ties.
However, Pakistan's High Commission here said the 73rd Independence Day was observed "in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle", in accordance with the decision of the Pakistan government.
Pakistan had announced it will observe August 14 as "Kashmir Solidarity Day" and August 15 - India's Independence Day - as "Black Day". The Acting High Commissioner Shah started the celebrations, hosted on the Chancery's lawns, by hoisting the Pakistani flag to the tune of its national anthem.
He extended warm felicitations and lauded "the zeal with which the broader Pakistan High Commission family, and Pakistani students of South Asian University were participating in the festivities".
He also read out a message from Pakistan President Arif Alvi, who "stressed on unity and harmony among the ranks of the nation to face the challenges". Students of the Pakistan High Commission School presented national songs and tableau on the occasion.