Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday challenged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a public referendum in occupied Kashmir “if he really wants feedback on the popularity of his decision” to scrap it of its autonomous status.
“I challenge Narendra Modi to lift the curfew and call the entire Kashmiri leadership — including those who have been in government with you — such as Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister, Omar Abdullah, also a CM, and the Hurriyat leadership Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Ali Gilani, Yasin Malik — there are numerous individuals,” said Qureshi, during a press conference in Multan.
“In Srinagar, or wherever you see fit, hold a public referendum today,” he said, daring Modi to test which way the public opinion sways.
“You haven’t fulfilled the United Nations promise but today if you wish to check the popularity of your decision, hold the referendum and all will be crystal clear,” said the foreign minister.
Restrictions are continuing in much of occupied Kashmir, which entered the 13th day of an unprecedented lockdown on Sunday. India’s government claims it’s gradually restoring phone lines.
Soldiers on Sunday still manned nearly deserted streets and limited movement of the few pedestrians who came out of their homes in Srinagar.