Former all-round cricketer of Pakistan Shahid Afridi on Wednesday proposed that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir should be given “independence”, saying the country does not want the region as it cannot even manage its four provinces.
Afridi was addressing students in London when he is learnt to have the statement. The video, in which he is heard saying that Pakistan is not interested in Kashmir and since the country is against giving it to India, the region should be given independence, has gone viral on the social media.
“I say Pakistan doesn’t want Kashmir. Don’t give it to India either. Let Kashmir be independent. At least humanity will be alive. Let people not die,” he said.
“Pakistan doesn’t want Kashmir. It can’t even manage its four provinces. The big thing is insaaniyat (humanity). People who are dying there, it is painful. Any death, be it from any community, is painful,” Afridi said, according to news agency PTI.
He was heavily criticised on social media and TV channels for his remark which deviated from the state policy of Pakistan on Kashmir.
Renowned news anchor Hamid Mir compared Afridi’s solution to an “out of box” formula proposed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
“The Musharraf formula failed because Kashmir can only be resolved under UN resolutions,” he said.
Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif also criticised Afridi for the remark.
The cricketer later issued a clarification and said that his comment was blown out of proportion.
“My comments are being misconstrued by Indian media! I’m passionate about my country and greatly value the struggles of Kashmiris. Humanity must prevail and they should get their rights.
“My clip is incomplete and out of context as what I said before that is missing. Kashmir is unresolved dispute… It must be resolved as per the UN resolution. Myself along with every Pakistani support Kashmiri freedom struggle. Kashmir belongs to Pakistan,” he added.
(With agency inputs)