CHENNAI/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Post has issued 20 “commemorative” postage stamps portraying slain terrorists and some others as “victims of atrocities by Indian troops in Kashmir”. A senior official of Pakistan Post told TOI in Islamabad that the stamps – many with disturbing images – were issued from its headquarters in Karachi on July 24 to express Pakistan’s solidarity with Kashmiris in their “fight against the Indian oppression” and to locally and internationally highlight the plight of people living in Kashmir.

Along with the images, the stamps carry captions such as ‘use of chemical weapons’, ‘use of pellet guns’, ‘mass graves’, ‘braid chopping’ and ‘Burhan Wani (1994-2016) freedom icon’. Wani was killed in an encounter along with two of his associates by security forces in Anantnag district in Kashmir on July 8, 2016. The series of 20 postal stamps are on sale on e-Bay and a few other online trading sites.

The stamps were issued on ‘Kashmir Martyrs Day’ by the Philately Bureau, Karachi. The pictures are that of terrorists killed in encounters in the Kashmir Valley over the last few years. The stamps are available on e-bay for $6.99 (approximately Rs 500). In Pakistan, the stamps are sold at Rs8 (local currency) per piece.

Philatelists are not amused. “It is nothing but an attempt by the neighbouring country to malign our country’s image. I am a philatelist for more than two decades, but I have never come across such stamps that are a distortion of facts. The postal departments issue commemoration stamps to popularise their culture and uniqueness, but this is in poor taste,” philatelist C Tamilvannan told TOI.

The pictures have been used to mislead people across the globe, said Jagannath Mani, a life member of Philately Congress of India. “The government of India should convey its objections and the Pakistan government should withdraw the stamps,” he said, adding that he would write to the external affairs ministry against this issue.

Philatelists said they have brought the matter to the notice of Centre’s officials.