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Kurdish referendum

Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan fully supports Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan is deeply concerned over the referendum held in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on September, the Foreign Office spokesperson said in response to a query regarding the matter. According to report, Iraqi Kurds backed independence from Baghdad in a referendum held on Sept 25, alarming Ankara as it faces a separatist insurgency from its own Kurdish minority. Kurds had endorsed secession by nine to one in a vote, angering the central government in Baghdad as well as regional and world powers, who fear the referendum could lead to renewed conflict in the region. Iraq, authorised foreigners stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan after an international flight ban to leave the country via Baghdad despite not having a federal visa. Foreigners who had entered the northern autonomous region on regional visas not recognised by Baghdad could previously not travel to other parts of Iraq. Baghdad ordered the suspension of international flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan from Friday in retaliation for the Kurds voting for independence earlier last week. Iraqi Kurds gave a resounding 92.7-percent “yes” vote for independence in last Monday’s non-binding referendum, which has also sent regional tensions soaring. Kurdish officials have said that they can withstand an economic blockade because they are self-sufficient in terms of power generation and fuel supply, and they also have fertile agricultural land.
They also said that three-quarters of the trucks that cross the Turkish border are heading to territory controlled by Baghdad rather than to the Kurdish region, so the Turkish and Iraqi economies would suffer from any blockade. A diplomatic drive to forestall the referendum failed to persuade Kurdish leaders, some of the United States’ closest Middle Eastern allies, former US officials and experts said.
There were expectations that the US, which said it would not recognise the vote, could use its ties to the Iraqi Kurds to persuade Barzani to cancel the referendum in exchange for a guarantee of talks with Baghdad. The foreign office has taken right stance that Pakistan fully supports Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Referendum held in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on 25 September 2017 was against the Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Pakistan’s stance that the referendum violates the Iraqi constitution and therefore lacks any legitimacy and presents a challenge to peace and security of Iraq is justified. Such efforts will be against the stability of the Iraq because after facing huge devastation it needs peace and formation of Kurdistan on ethnic grounds will not produced positive outcome.

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