Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim.
WASHINGTON DC – The Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence is a straightforward question being asked within the context of Kurdish history in Iraq, said Najmaldin Karim, governor of Kirkuk and prominent Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) member.
It’s a very simple question, “Kurdistan independence: yes or no?” Karim said at a symposium on Kurdistan held in Washington on Friday.
Answering his own question about the timing of the historic vote, Karim said to look at the history of Iraq, how it has functioned and treated its people.
Growing up in Kirkuk, he said, he was denied the basic right of studying in his native language and they were always governed by outsiders brought into the city, telling them what to do.
Kurdistan’s independence aspirations are a response to the actions of successive Iraqi governments, or failures in the case of Article 140 dealing with the fate of disputed areas, including his home Kirkuk.
The issues that people raise in objection to holding the referendum, things like the Kurdistan parliament that has not convened since October 2015 and disputes among political parties, “are not fundamentally related to the referendum itself.”
That simple question has the support of the political parties and the people, Karim said.
He added that the Kurdistan Region is ahead of other nations when they gained independence. Sitting in the American capital he reminded people that the US did not have a government when it became independent and expressed his confidence that the Kurdistan parliament would reconvene because all parties are working to achieve that goal.