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Pakistan

Govt is not planning to turn AJK into a province: PM Imran

  • Says UN gave Kashmiris the right to decide their political future
  • Reiterates that the government is ready to work with opposition on electoral reforms
23 Jul 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected on Friday the opposition's claims that the government wants to turn Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) into a new province.

"I do not know where all this talk has sprung from," the premier said while addressing an election campaign rally in Tarar Khal.

Election campaign in AJK in full swing: Political parties eyeing lion’s share in future power arrangement

Talking about Kashmiris right to self-determination, PM reiterated that the sacrifices of the people of Kashmir will not go in vain. "God will grant you that right. There will be a referendum," he told the crowd.

"In 1947, the United Nations gave Kashmiris the right to decide their future themselves,” he added.

The premier regretted that the UN and the international community had failed to provide the promised right to the people of Kashmir to determine their future.

PM in AJK to brighten PTI's electoral prospects

"After the UN-mandated referendum, Pakistan will hold another referendum, where the people of Kashmir will be given the choice to either live with Pakistan or become an independent state," he said.

Speaking about the AJK Legislative Assembly election, the prime minister said that the opposition is talking about rigging already. "Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which I truly believe has never done a single thing with honesty, has started talk of rigging already," he told the crowd.

"The government is yours, the staff is yours, the Election Commission is comprised of people of your own choosing, and it is we who will rig the elections?" he asked the leadership of the opposition party.

Talking about electoral reforms, he said that he has invited the opposition to sit with the government on the issue. "The government is ready to work with the opposition regarding the issue of electoral reforms,” he said, adding that "its important to hold objection-free elections."

"We recommended electronic voting machines. What happens is that right after the election ends, the result is out with the press of a button," he told them.

"You don't have to worry about going through boxes of votes, neither is there any fear of the boxes being stolen and nor of double-stamping. This is the marvel of technology. The result is instantaneous," he explained.

The election campaign in AJK has been in full swing as political parties eye the share in a future power arrangement that would emerge after July 25 elections.

Although several political parties are participating, the real electoral battle seems to be between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling party in Pakistan, and PML-N, the outgoing ruling party in AJK.

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