Saturday Jul 24, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan's proposal to hold a referendum in Kashmir to decide whether the Kashmiris wanted to live with Pakistan or as an independent nation.
His remarks came a few hours after Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had rejected the premier's proposal.
The PPP chairman, speaking to media in Karachi, said PM Imran Khan always "always manages to say the wrong thing about Kashmir".
"[He] considers the people of Kashmir fools and traitors. From the beginning, PPP has always maintained that the Kashmiri people should decide their fate."
Speaking about the July 25 AJK Legislative Assembly election, the PPP chairman said that if a fair election would be held, then his party would emerge victorious.
"The jiyalas fought against rigging before and are ready to do it again."
Earlier in the day, in a statement, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had slammed the prime minister, saying "Imran Khan Niazi is deviating from Pakistan's historical and constitutional position" by proposing a referendum.
"The entire nation rejects anything other than Pakistan's historic position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and UN Security Council resolutions," Shahbaz said.
He said that the premier's statement have "proven the concerns that have already arisen" with the Indian measures of August 5, 2019.
"The Jammu and Kashmir dispute will be decided according to a transparent and independent plebiscite held under the auspices of the United Nations and this is the position of the people of Pakistan and Kashmir."
The PML-N president said that imposing a solution on Kashmiris without their consent and consultation is "tantamount to helping India and betraying the Kashmir cause".
While addressing an election rally in Tarar Khal on Friday, the prime minister had promised the people of Kashmir that his government will hold a referendum in which they could choose to join Pakistan or become an independent state.
"... What I want to make clear now is that in 1948, there were two United Nations Security Council resolutions which granted the people of Kashmir the right to decide their future. According to the UN resolutions, the people have to decide whether they want to join Hindustan or Pakistan," the premier had said.
"I want to clarify to all of you today. InshaAllah, a day will come, when all the sacrifices made by the people of Kashmir will not be wasted. God will grant you that right. There will be a referendum, InshaAllah.”
He expressed the confidence that the people on that day will choose to live with Pakistan.
The premier went on to state that even after the UN mandated referendum, his government will hold another referendum, where the people of Kashmir will be given the choice to either live with Pakistan or become an independent state.