Pakistan ready for referendum in Kashmir – PM Khan

In this file photo, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan speaks during the Climate Action Summit 2019 in the United Nations General Assembly Hall September 23, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 18 January 2020

Pakistan ready for referendum in Kashmir – PM Khan

  • Khan criticized the Indian government for being influenced by RSS
  • Commercial interests prevent Western countries from stopping the lockdown of India-administered Kashmir, he told Deutsche Welle

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ready for a referendum in Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a Thursday interview with a German broadcaster.
“Let the people of Kashmir decide what they want. Pakistan is ready for a referendum or a plebiscite. Let them decide whether they want to remain with Pakistan or to be independent,” Khan told Deutsche Welle.
He said that Azad Kashmir – the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmiri territory – holds free and fair elections and, unlike the Indian-administered part, it is open for observers. “Let us invite observers from all over the world. I assure you that they can go to the Pakistan side of Kashmir but won’t be allowed on the Indian side.”
To resolve differences between Pakistan and India, the premier said, he had made an effort to talk to his counterpart Narendra Modi, but there was no positive response.
“In my first speech as prime minister (in 2018), I said that if India moved one step forward, we would take two steps toward them to resolve our differences. But I soon came to know that India did not respond well to my offer because of the RSS’ ideology,” Khan said, referring to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a nationalist Hindu paramilitary organization.
“It is a tragedy for India – and for its neighbors – that the country has been taken over by the RSS, an organization which also assassinated the great Mahatma Gandhi. A nuclear-armed country is being run by extremists, and Kashmir has been under siege for over five months,” he said.
In reference to India's lockdown of Kashmiri territory, Khan added that “unfortunately, commercial interests are more important for Western countries. India is a big market and that is the reason behind the lukewarm response to what is happening to some 8 million people in Kashmir, as well as to minorities in India.”
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is in Washington, briefed US senators on the situation's implications for regional security.
“Peace and stability in South Asia would remain elusive until the Kashmir dispute was resolved in accordance with international law and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” the Foreign Office quoted Qureshi in a statement released on Friday.


Kamran Akmal’s record breaking 100 leads Zalmi to crushing win

Updated 22 February 2020

Kamran Akmal’s record breaking 100 leads Zalmi to crushing win

  • Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators have the fiercest rivalry in PSL cricket
  • Akmal’s first 10 deliveries saw the most runs scored by any player in the PSL over such a duration

KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi versus Quetta Gladiators has historically been the fiercest rivalry in PSL cricket, and one that has always produced not just great matches, but absolute classics. On Saturday however, a devastating century by Kamran Akmal meant that Zalmi completed a totally one-sided win over their main rivals.
Batting first after losing the toss, Quetta had Jason Roy looking in superb touch. The English opener struck the ball cleanly and without fear, epitomised by one hit that literally landed on the roof of the National Stadium. But he didn’t quite find any support on the other end, as both Ahmed Shehzad and Shane Watson played turgid knocks that never got going. Wahab Riaz, brought in early here, carried over his form from the end of the previous match and was extremely difficult to handle.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Quetta’s captain, arrived in the ninth over and immediately changed the narrative. In an innings that saw him in absolutely fluent touch, he was particularly vicious against the spinners, using his feet to devastating effect. It allowed Roy to play with far more ease, knowing that the responsibility didn’t fall solely on his shoulders.
Their fluency meant that the opposing captain, Daren Sammy, had to make a move.
The day had begun with news that Sammy was being awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian award and honorary citizenship in recognition for his contributions to Pakistan cricket. For all of Sammy’s off field efforts, it’s his on-field ones for Zalmi that are equally legendary. Here, he brought himself on for what would be his only over and immediately got rid of Sarfaraz. It wasn’t obvious then, but that ended up unraveling the Gladiators’ innings.
The opening game’s hero, Azam Khan, and then Mohammad Nawaz each wasted deliveries before being dismissed cheaply. It meant that Roy remaining not out till the end didn’t quite have the effect one would have imagined in such a scenario, and Quetta’s total fell short.
No one though, had any clue how small that target would end up being.
Kamran Akmal decided to singlehandedly end the competition there and then. His first 10 deliveries saw the most runs scored by any player in the PSL over such a duration, and that destroyed the target in effect if not in reality. He was deft against the pacers and far more violent against the spinners, but the effect was just the same. Peshawar were always so far ahead of the rate that the few successes Quetta had felt insignificant.
The innings also went some way in establishing the legend of Kamran Akmal’s PSL career, a storied chapter in what is one of the most notorious tales in Pakistan cricket’s rich history. Always talented with the bat, Akmal’s disasters as a wicket keeper had led to much of the criticism he had always failed. But in the PSL, he is not only the highest run-scorer of all time, he now has three centuries in the competition’s history, which is as many as everyone else combined. Predictably, from the press conference onwards to across social media, calls for Akmal’s return to the international side echoed far and wide.
Barely managing to conceal his famous grin when speaking to reporters later, Akmal was at pains to insist that he had no thoughts on returning to the national side, and his complete focus was on the PSL. But Peshawar Zalmi won’t mind either way — if their prized asset continues to make his case for the national side in a World Cup year on their roster, they would be the most to benefit.
Zalmi’s first win also gave them some consolation for their last encounter with Quetta, also at this ground, where they had lost the PSL final. But after almost chasing down 200 yesterday and then gut punching the defending champions today, Peshawar will feel confident that they will be returning to the final this year as well.