akistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Islamabad would allow the people of Kashmir to decide if they want to join the country or become an independent state, PTI reported.
Khan made this statement during a poll rally at the Tarar Khal town of Pakistan administered Kashmir.
Khan’s statement came six days after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz said that a decision had been taken to change the status of Kashmir to a province. Legally, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which Pakistanis call Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is an autonomous self-governing territory. However, the Kashmir Council – a nominated 14-member body headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan – effectively holds most of the powers in the region.
New Delhi maintains that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Rejecting Nawaz’s claim, Khan on Friday said that a day would come when Kashmiris would be allowed to decide their future as per United Nations’ resolutions and expressed confidence that the people of Kashmir on that day would decide to join Pakistan. “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 was quoted as saying by Dawn.
“Remember, the decision has to be made by Kashmiris themselves,” he added. “And the day is not far when you will decide about your future status of your own free accord.”