Former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi sparked a controversy when he reportedly suggested that Kashmir should be independent, the Hindustan Times reported. He later blamed the Indian media for misconstruing his comments to students at the House of Commons in England.
“My clip is incomplete & out of context as what I said before that is missing,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “I’m passionate about my country and greatly value the struggles of Kashmiris. Humanity must prevail and they should get their rights,”
In a video that had earlier gone viral, Afridi was heard saying, “I say Pakistan does not want Kashmir. Don’t give it to India either. Let Kashmir be independent. At least humanity will be alive. Let people not die. Pakistan does not want Kashmir. It cannot even manage its four provinces.”
Afridi had said humanity was most important. “Any death, be it from any community, is painful,” he added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he agreed with Afridi. “What he [Afridi] said is correct,” Singh told ANI. “They are struggling to run their own country, how will they run Kashmir? Kashmir is part of India, and will remain a part of India.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked why sections of Indian media were celebrating Afridi’s statement. “Forget what he said about Pakistan’s four provinces, the byte I saw clearly had him supporting freedom for Kashmir [and] criticising human rights violations, so how is that a victory for India?” Abdullah tweeted.
Earlier this year, Afridi was criticised for his comments on the violence in Jammu and Kashmir. “Appalling and worrisome situation ongoing in India-occupied Kashmir,” Afridi had said on Twitter. His tweets came after 19 people – 12 militants, three Army soldiers and four civilians – were killed in three separate gunfights in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Anantnag districts.