Pakistan on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s references to Balochistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in his Independence Day speech were an attempt to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” that has been unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his reaction to PM Modi’s references to Balochistan and the PoK, Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, claimed this proved Pakistan’s contention that India has been allegedly “fomenting terrorism” in the province.
Mr 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”, Mr Aziz was quoted as saying by a Foreign Office statement.
Mr Aziz’s remarks came shortly after PM Modi 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,” PM 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.
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.
Mr Zehri, while addressing a ceremony in the provincial capital of Quetta to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day on Sunday, said there was no comparison between Balochistan and Kashmir.
Mr Zehri made the remarks after PM 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.