Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has come under attack from Islamist parties and groups supporting militancy in Kashmir that accused him of being soft on India and advocating peace.
The groups led by Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed held a conference outside National Press Club here to mark 'Solidarity Day' with Kashmiris on Saturday.
It was Saeed's first major public appearance in the capital after three years, showing defiance towards the government.
While taking to task the government, Saeed praised army chief General Raheel Sharif.
"The Prime Minister is bound to follow the path of Quaid-i-Azam (Mohammad Ali Jinnah), Liaquat Ali Khan and the founding fathers. He should not betray the Kashmir cause," Saeed said.
He asked Sharif to own the "Kashmir cause" and praised the United Jihad Council (UJC) which had claimed the Pathankot attack.
"They (UJC) came to the rescue of Pakistan after the Pathankot attack and it is time that we too own the Kashmiris," Saeed said.
He also stated that the army chief was right when he said "Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition".
Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman Khalil of Ansarul Ummah, Mian Aslam of Jamaat-i-Islami, Senate Deputy Chairman and central leader of JUI-F Abdul Ghafoor Haidary and a former legal aide of former president general Pervez Musharraf -- Ahmad Raza Kasuri -- also participated in the conference.
Haidary said there could be no peace in the region without resolution of the Kashmir issue.
"Both India and Pakistan are pitching their resources in defence while hundreds and thousands of citizens do not have food and shelter," he said.
Criticising Pakistan, Kasuri said the country had confined the Kashmir cause to a ceremonial day only.
"We need to look ahead and after developing a consensus among political parties there should be a full-fledged assault by Foreign Office against India," he said.
Dawn reported that not only was the conference heavily attended by workers and followers of JuD, it also showcased the high degree of technical advancements made by the group.
JuD security personnel stationed at various positions wore jackets of different colours -- clearly defining their duties.
Last year, only a few rallies were organised to mark the Kashmir Day and JuD held a rally from Zero Point to Aabpara chowk led by its leader Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki who criticised the UN and the US for their indifferent attitude towards alleged Indian human rights violations in Kashmir.