Kirkuk is part of the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
The province took part in the vote based on a majority vote by the Kirkuk Provincial Council, also backed by the Kurdish Governor Najmaldin Karim, a PUK member.
Pafel Talabani said in a statement Thursday evening that the current tensions whereby the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces are facing one another is “unwanted” and it is up to his party to become Kurdistan’s “savior” by finding some light within the darkness that affected the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
He blamed the current tensions on holding the referendum without taking into consideration any consequences.
Hero Ibrahim Ahmad, an influential politburo member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Talabnai’s widow, also published a statement following her son’s, saying that they want to keep the situation in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk stable in light of the standoff between the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.
She called on the two forces to exercise restraint.
Hero, whose aprty the third-largest in the Kurdistan Region with own Peshmerga and security forces especially in Sulaimani, Halabja and Kirkuk provinces, called on both Erbil and Baghdad to get over the referendum-era, and instead open a new page in light of the Iraqi constitution.
“The phase of the referendum and its results had passed.
Let’s begin a new phase for the sake of our land and our people, and this could be done in dialogue with Baghdad to solve all the problems between Baghdad and the Region in accordance to the [Iraqi] constitution and its results,” Hero, also known as Hero Khan in Kurdistan, said.
Earlier this week, Talabani’s nephew, also the head of the party’s anti-terror force, Lahur Talabany, criticized holding the Kurdish independence referendum despite being advised against it by the regional countries and the international community.
Pafel demanded the PUK’s members of the Iraqi parliament to go back to Baghdad, while asking the Iraqi parliament to return to the practice of the principle of consensus.
The PUK was one of the main two parties of the Kurdistan Region who supported the Kurdish independence referendum that saw 92.7 percent of the people voting for independence.
But some of the party’s senior leaders, including Pafel, were reluctant to turn down the US-backed alternative instead of the referendum.
Just days before the vote, Pafel published a statement saying that his party and the Kurdistan Democratic Party had agreed to postpone the vote.
He later claimed that the statement was published “by mistake.”
The Kurdish parliament, which also includes the PUK faction, voted to back the independence vote just 10 days before the historic process.
The PUK’s politburo held a meeting on Thursday without publishing any statement.
Rafaat Abdullah, who took part in the meeting, told his party’s media that the meeting will be continued tomorrow.
Kosrat Rasul, the party’s first deputy head, who is now in theory PUK’s interim leader after the death of Jalal Talabani earlier this month, has strongly supported the Kurds drive for independence since day one.