Pakistan PM Imran Khan says ready to hold referendum in PoK

Pakistan PM Imran Khan says ready to hold referendum in PoK

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, speaks to reporters during a news conference last year. (AP File Photo: Seth Wenig)

Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated that his country is ready to hold a referendum in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to give people the right to decide whether they want to remain in the country or be independent. In an interview to Deutsche Welle, Khan said the "best thing" would be to let the people decide through a referendum or a plebiscite.

"The best thing is (to) let the people of Kashmir decide. The people of Pakistan Kashmir and the Indian Kashmir. Pakistan is all ready to give them the right through a referendum or a plebiscite. Let them decide whether they want to remain with Pakistan or want to be independent. We're all for it," he told DW's Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl.

When asked about the human rights situation in PoK, Khan said Pakistan was open to allowing people from anywhere in the world to visit. "We invite anyone, anywhere in the world to come see the Pakistan side of Kashmir and then go see the Indian side of Kashmir. Let them see the difference... they will not be allowed to go to the Indian side of Kashmir," he said.

When probed on ties with India, Khan claimed he made "every effort" to talk to the Modi government, but it was due to the "RSS ideology" that the country was not responding. He also said he was the first leader to "warn the world about what is happening in India".

Khan said, "India has been taken over by a racially extremist, exclusive ideology which is called Hindutva. The ideology stems from RSS. RSS was born in 1925. Its inspiration was the Nazi Party in Germany. The founding fathers of RSS believed in the Nazi ideology of racial superiority, and just as the Nazi ideology was built on hatred for another minority, similarly the RSS ideology is based on hatred for Muslims and other minorities... Christians as well.

"When I first became the prime minister, I made every effort to talk to the Indian government. But it soon transpired that there was a reason why India was not responding, and the reason was the RSS ideology. And this became evident on August 5 when they unilaterally annexed Kashmir," Khan said.