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    Pakistan will give Kashmiris ‘right to freedom’

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    Addressing thousands of people, PM Khan said that he is ready to allow the Kashmiris full right to self-determination, even if they vote to remain with Pakistan.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to allow the people of Kashmir the right to freedom if residents of the disputed Himalayan region were to vote to join Pakistan with a UN mandate that has been delayed for decades.

    Since attaining independence from the British in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought their three wars over Kashmir, with both sides claiming the region in full, but controlling separate parts of it that line the Line of Control ( LOC).

    Addressing thousands of people at a Kashmir Solidarity Day rally in Kotli, a city of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Friday, Khan said he was ready to allow the citizens of the region full right to self-determination.

    “When you decide your future, and when the people of Kashmir, God willing, decide in favor of Pakistan, then I want to say that after that Pakistan will give the Kashmiris the right that if you want to be independent Or are part of Pakistan, ”Khan said. “It will be your right.”

    In 1948, a UN Security Council resolution prohibited the referendum in the region, giving residents the option of joining India or Pakistan.

    Independence was not called an alternative to that referendum.

    India has rejected such a referendum until Pakistan withdraws its troops from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

    In 2019, New Delhi changed the constitutional status of Indian-administered Kashmir, removing a provision that gave the region its autonomy and included it in the country’s administrative mainstream.

    The move was rejected by Pakistan, which has demanded India to reverse the decision as a precondition for any negotiations.

    India’s move also met with anger within Kashmir, where a month-long curfew was enforced by hundreds of thousands of security forces.

    There are several restrictions on movement and communication of Kashmiris in Indian-administered Kashmir, where an armed separatist movement has been fighting the Indian Army since the 1990s.

    Rights groups have documented human rights abuses by Indian security forces, including use of pellet guns to intimidate protesters, targeted killings and journalists.

    Speaking on Friday, Khan reiterated that his government was ready to engage in negotiations with India, but only if it removed the special constitutional status of Kashmir.

    At the United Nations, Pakistan’s foreign minister on Friday presented a letter to the Secretary-General and the head of the Security Council to overturn the new laws aimed at lifting the body to ban Kashmiris from India and dispose of non-Kashmiris. said. Area.

    Kashmir Day rallies

    Rallies were also held in Pakistan in solidarity with the Kashmiris, with at least 16 people injured in a hand grenade attack at such a gathering in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

    The attack took place in Sibi district, about 110 km (68 mi) east of the provincial capital Quetta.

    Local officer Yasir Bajai said, “16 people were injured, one of them is in critical condition and is being shifted to Quetta.”

    The three injured were policemen providing security at the rally.

    While no group immediately claimed responsibility for that attack, the province has been the site of an armed separatist movement by ethnic Baloch who accuse the Pakistani state of extracting resources without providing authority or rule to the local people.

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