Pakistan has reacted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s references to Balochistan and PoK in his Independence Day speech. Pakistan accused India of attempting to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his reaction to Modi’s references to Balochistan and Pakistan-occuped Kashmir(PoK), Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, claimed that Baloch reference has proved Pakistan’s contention that India has allegedly been “fomenting terrorism” in the province.
Aziz also asserted that the situation in Balochistan cannot be equated with Kashmir.
He said Prime Minister Modi was only trying to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” that has been unfolding in Kashmir over the past five weeks, in a reference to the ongoing unrest in the Valley.
The reference to Balochistan, which is an integral part of Pakistan, “only proves Pakistan’s contention that India, through its main intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been fomenting terrorism in Balochistan”, Aziz was quoted as saying by a Foreign Office statement.
Aziz’s remarks came shortly after the Indian Premier brought up Pakistani atrocities on people of Balochistan and PoK in his Independence Day speech.
“From the ramparts of the Red Fort, I want to express my gratitude to some people — the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) — for the way they whole- heartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me, the way they conveyed their goodwill to me recently,” Modi said.
This is for the first time the disturbed areas in the control of Pakistan have been mentioned by any Indian Prime Minister during his Independence Day speech.
Aziz further criticised the Indian government for the situation in Kashmir where protests and violence has been on for nearly 40 days. It all began when Indian security forces shot dead Hizbul Mujahideen commander and poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8.
“…A large country does not automatically become a great country, specially when it unleashes such brute force against innocent citizens to suppress their right to protest or when it deliberately uses pellet guns to permanently destroy the eyesight of over 100 youth,” Aziz said while referring to the number of casualties and the injured in the Valley.
He said India should recognise that the core issue of Kashmir cannot be resolved by bullets.
It needs a political solution, serious negotiations between India and Pakistan, Aziz added.
Earlier, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri had dismissed Prime Minister Modi’s assertion that the province was suffering from repression and accused India of fomenting trouble there.
Zehri, while addressing a ceremony in the provincial capital of Quetta to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14, said there was no comparison between Balochistan and Kashmir.
Zehri made the remarks after Modi, during an all-party meeting on the Kashmir situation last week, had said the time had come to expose the atrocities committed “by our neighbouring nation” in Balochistan and the areas of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal occupation.
(With inputs from PTI)