PM Imran Khan announces referendum for independent status of Kashmir

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Tarar Khal – Staff Reporter:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said his government would hold a referendum after the liberation of occupied Kashmir, seeking Kashmiris’ opinion if they wanted to stay with Pakistan or maintain an independent status.

Speaking during an AJK election 2021 rally in Tarar Khal, the Prime Minister said that the UN resolutions in 1948 gave rights to the Kashmiris to decide their fate.

“It is the Kashmiris who had to decide through a referendum if they had to join India or Pakistan,” he said adding that a day would come that sacrifices of Kashmiris would prove fruitful and they would decide to go with Pakistan rather than India.

After this referendum, Imran Khan said that his government would hold another referendum seeking the opinion of the people of the territory if they wanted to join Pakistan or maintain an independent status.

The prime minister further rubbished aside talk of him “wishing to turn Azad Jammu and Kashmir” into a new province of Pakistan.

“I do not know as to where it has come from,” he said in a campaign rally during the AJK elections 2021.

He said according to UN Resolutions, only Kashmiri people can decide their future through referendum.

Imran Khan said Pakistan will allow Kashmiris to decide between choosing to join Pakistan or remaining independent even after they vote in favor of Pakistan in a future plebiscite.

The Prime Minister said the unprecedented sacrifices being rendered by the Kashmiri people will not go in vain and time is not far when they will decide their future.

He said that he has raised the Kashmir issue at global forums and would continue to do so.

“I will tell the world that Pakistan stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for independence,” he said while paying tribute to Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik for their struggle against the atrocities committed in the occupied territory.

“I am giving a message to Yasin Malik to remain patient and steadfast as victory is near,” he said.

Moving on to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, due on Sunday, the prime minister said that there is already talk that “there will be rigging”.

He said opposition is making hue and cry of rigging in elections despite the fact that being the ruling party their own government is responsible for conducting the fair and transparent elections.

He said we are making strenuous efforts for the last one year to bring elections reforms to make election process transparent and opposition has been invited to sit with government for this purpose.

Imran Khan said Electronic Voting Machines will bring an end to rigging allegations and help in holding transparent elections.

Regarding poverty, he said that the prime focus of his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) would be the uplift of underprivileged people by providing them amenities of education, health and subsidized food.

The prime minister vowed to launch special programmes for low-income class in AJK after his party won the upcoming election. He said for the 40 percent of poor population, the ration cards for food items on subsidized rates would be introduced.

Also citing the Kamiyab Pakistan programme, he said one person of every family will receive technical education and the family will have health insurance worth Rs1 million.

In addition, one person will be granted an interest-free loan to start a business.

“We have set aside Rs500bn for this programme,” he said.

Imran Khan said the government of PTI would also introduce a Health Card scheme for the people in AJK with Rs one million health insurance per household.

Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur speaking on the occasion said the candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would defeat other contestants giving a message that the people rejected the looters and exploiters.

PTI’s candidate for AJK Legislative Assembly Sardar Tanveer Ilyas said the people of Poonch looked towards Imran Khan as the leader who could ensure them development and prosperity.

Sardar Faheem Akhtar Rabbani, PTI’s ticketholder for the AJK election said the party after winning election would focus on providing the people of Kashmir the facilities in the fields of education, health and tourism. He also mentioned that PTI would provide scholarships to deserving students to mainstream them in the journey of AJK’s development.

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