The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) bloc in the Iraqi Parliament said the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have oppressed Kirkuk by not providing sufficient services to the city.
“All the parties see the revenues of this city but no one cares to solve the issues of the city,” head of the PUK bloc in the Iraq Parliament, Ala Talabani, said on Wednesday (April 5) during a press conference.
The comments came as the PUK bloc paid a visit to Kirkuk to meet with Kirkuk governor, Najmadin Karim, and head of Kirkuk Provincial Council, Rebwar Talabani, as well as other officials in the city
Ala Talabani also called on the Iraqi government to fulfill Article 140 of the Iraq Constitution which sets out the right of the people of Kirkuk to hold a referendum on the city’s status.
“We are calling for the Provincial Council elections in Kirkuk so that Kirkuk would be able to decide [on] its issues,” she added.
The PUK official said she hoped the operation to liberate Hawija from Islamic State (ISIS) militants would begin in the near future.
Hawija, located some 50 km southwest of the city of Kirkuk, became an ISIS stronghold when militants swept across northern and western Iraq in 2014.
Talabani’s comments came after a decision by Kirkuk Provincial Council to raise the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag on official premises, a move which brought condemnation from Iraqi parties and neighboring countries.
Iraqi lawmakers voted on April 1 in opposition to hoisting the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk during a session which was boycotted by Kurdish legislators, after it was approved by Kirkuk Provincial Council on March 28.
Kirkuk Provincial Council members on April 4 voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the Iraqi Parliament’s decision to lower the Kurdistan flag over government buildings in Kirkuk.