Pakistan throws support behind Iraq govt, opposes Kurdish referendum


The government reaffirmed its "full support for the government and people of Iraq" and added that Pakistan is concerned at attempts aimed at threatening the territorial integrity of Iraq or any other country in the region. Turnout was reported at more than 72 percent of eligible voters.

Reaffirming support to the incumbent government in Iraq, Pakistan has said that the recently held referendum in the oil-rich country's Kurdistan region "lacks legitimacy".

He noted that the referendum can be a threat against security in Iraq.

"One of the first steps in implementing this plan was a referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan", Hossein Sheikholislam said.

Worldwide pressure mounted on Iraqi Kurdistan Saturday after its controversial independence "yes" vote, with neighbouring Iran announcing joint border drills with Iraq and banning fuel trade with the autonomous region. Regional powers, including Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, were less measured, issuing economic, security, and diplomatic sanctions against the KRG-most of which have not yet materialized.

Hezbollah fighters are now fighting along with other Iran-backed militias and the Syrian army against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in eastern Syria. "The Kurds are proud, independent people who have always been persecuted and who have earned the right to form an independent state".

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Iran, which has its own Kurdish minority, had already halted flights to and from Kurdish regions on Sunday.

The vote was held across the autonomous Kurdish region's three provinces as well as in some disputed territories controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad.

Tehran has also accepted a request by Baghdad for an Iraqi army presence at frontier crossings.

The move is part of the central government's stepped-up efforts to isolate the Kurds following their vote on independence earlier this week.

"Faced with the priority of fighting Daesh and the stabilisation of Iraq, Iraqis must remain united", the French presidency said in a statement, using another name for IS. Erdoğan asked, turning to the Kurdish leadership in Iraq.

The officials feel that if Baghdad, Turkey, Iran, the United States and the world line up against them, and the Kurds cannot see an end to their hardship, Barzani could come under pressure at home to declare independence.