Kashmiri activists rally in Pakistan, demand referendum

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ISLAMABAD (AP) – Dozens of Kashmiri activists rallied in Pakistan’s capital Tuesday to urge the United Nations to ensure Kashmir’s right to self-determination under a decades-old resolution on the disputed region.

Chanting slogans including “we want freedom” they urged the world community to take notice of alleged Indian human rights violations in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

The rally in Islamabad came as Kashmiris marked the anniversary of a U.N. resolution passed in 1948 that called for a referendum on whether Kashmiris wanted to merge with Pakistan or India.

Kashmir became an issue at the end of British colonial rule in 1947 when the Indian subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and mainly Muslim Pakistan and Kashmir’s future was left unresolved.

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. The first war between them ended in 1948 with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that left Kashmir divided. The promise of a U.N.-sponsored referendum on its “final disposition” has never been fulfilled and the resolution was non-binding to begin with.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmir insurgents in its portion of Kashmir. Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support.

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