Pakistan PM: We would give Kashmiris ‘right to independence’

February 6, 2021 - 17:53

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to allow the people of Kashmir the right to independence if residents of the disputed Himalayan territory were to vote for joining Pakistan in a United Nations-mandated plebiscite that has been delayed for decades.

Since gaining independence from the British in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, with both sides claiming the territory in full but administering separate portions of it that are divided by the Line of Control (LoC).

Addressing thousands at a Kashmir Solidarity Day rally in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir town of Kotli on Friday, Khan asserted he was willing to allow citizens of the territory the full right to self-determination.

“When you decide on your future, and when the people of Kashmir, God willing, decide in Pakistan’s favour, I want to say that after that Pakistan will give Kashmiris the right that if you want to be independent or a part of Pakistan,” said Khan. “This will be your right.”

In 1948, a UN Security Council resolution mandated the holding of a plebiscite in the territory, giving residents a choice between joining India or Pakistan.

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