MUZAFFARABAD: Reiterating an earlier commitment to the Kashmiris, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday twice assured them that Islamabad would grant them the right to live as an independent nation if they decided to do so even after acceding to Pakistan through the United Nations-sponsored plebiscite, the Dawn reported.
Speaking at two big election rallies in the towns of Tarar Khal and Kotli on the last day of election campaign, he brushed aside allegations by his opponents that he wanted to convert Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) into a province and said he did not know as to where this idea had stemmed from, reports said.
Paying tribute to the Kashmiris for their more than a century-old struggle for emancipation, he said the unprecedented sacrifices rendered by them would not go in vain and they would exercise their right to self-determination and decide to accede to Pakistan and not India through a UN-sponsored referendum, reports said.
“Afterwards, we will hold another referendum whereby Kashmiri people will be asked to decide whether they want to live with Pakistan or as an independent nation,” he said at both places in almost identical words, amid rounds of applause from the charged gatherings, reports said.
He according to reports said a nation that had waged a struggle for more than 150 years had a right to get what it wanted. “Remember, the decision has to be made by the Kashmiris themselves… And the day is not far when you will decide about your future status of your own free accord.”
Speaking at two rallies, Imran rubbishes talk of rigging in upcoming polls.
He said the struggle of the Kashmiris was not for land but for their fundamental human and democratic rights to decide about their fate, reports said.
He said although the people of occupied Kashmir were going through the most difficult times of their history at the moment, he foresaw that soon India would be compelled to honour its pledge about plebiscite. “However brute force India may employ it will fail to quell the Kashmiris’ quest for freedom.”, added reports.
Describing himself as an ambassador of Kashmiris, Khan promised that he would raise voice for them at all international forums as well as before the world leaders and international media.
The prime minister then said to the crowd that they should put two questions to the people from the “two old parties” visiting them these days and begging for another chance (to form a government in AJK). “You should ask what they did to ameliorate the lives of people and how much fight they put up for Kashmir cause in the outside world during their respective governments,” he according to reports said.
Rather, they had befriended Narendra Modi, notwithstanding the fact he had unleashed the worst-ever atrocities on Kashmiris, added the prime minister while referring to the terrorism unleashed in Jammu & Kashmir and persecution of India’s minority communities by the Hindutva-driven government in New Delhi, added reports.
“I ask how many times Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have taken the name of the RSS. How many times they have condemned what has been happening with the Indian Muslims. How many times have they raised their voice against the RSS ideology crushing the Muslims and other minorities.”
The prime minister referred to two books by foreign authors and asked the audience to Google them to know for themselves why Sharif and Zardari would not speak against India and Modi, reports said.
Stating that no politician with ill-gotten money stashed in foreign lands could go against the diktats of the Western countries, PM Khan claimed that Benazir Bhutto had struck a deal with Gen Pervez Musharraf for this very reason. (Dawn)