Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected on Friday the opposition parties’ allegations that his government was mulling to make Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) a province of Pakistan.
While addressing a public gathering in AJK’s Tarar Khal area, the premier said as per United Nations resolutions only Kashmiri people can decide their future through referendum.
The PM was addressing a rally ahead of AJK assembly elections scheduled to be held on Sunday (June 25).
Over 3.2 million voters will elect a 53-member assembly for a five-year term. Out of 53 seats, 45 are general, while eight are reserved for women, technocrats and religious scholars.
PM Imran expressed hope that Kashmiris will get their right to self-determination in line with UN resolutions and their sacrifices for freedom will not go in vain.
He added that Pakistan will hold another referendum to let the Kashmiris decide whether they want to join Pakistan or stay independent.
The premier said the entire country is standing with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and pledged that he will continue raising the Kashmir issue at all international forums.
The PM urged Kashmiri leaders particularly Ali Raza Gilani and Yasin Malik to show perseverance in face of Indian atrocities saying “success comes after the difficulty”.
PM Imran said opposition parties were hurling rigging allegations ahead of AJK elections despite the fact that PML-N led regional government was responsible for conducting the fair and transparent elections.
PTI-led government is making sincere efforts for the last one year to bring elections reforms to make election process transparent and opposition has been invited as well to sit with government for this purpose, he added.
PM Imran said electronic voting machines (EVMSs) will bring an end to rigging allegations and help in holding transparent elections.
PM Imran also vowed to end poverty in AJK after if he forms government in the region through his party flagship Ehsas programme to help Kashmir’s youth achieving their goals and to provide all basic facilities to the masses.
The prime focus of PTI would be the uplift of underprivileged people by providing them amenities of education, health and subsidised food, said the premier.
The prime minister said PTI had on its agenda several development projects aimed at poverty alleviation in AJK.
He pledged to launch special programmes for low-income class in AJK if his party secured victory in the upcoming election.
The premier said for the 40 per cent of poor population, the ration cards for food items on subsidised rates would be introduced.
(With input from agencies)