The Chief Minister of Pakistan's restive Balochistan has dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertion that the province was suffering from repression and accused India of fomenting trouble there.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri made the remarks yesterday 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.
Zehri, while addressing a ceremony in the provincial capital of Quetta to mark Pakistan's Independence Day, said there was no comparison between Balochistan and Kashmir.
"The government and people of Balochistan vehemently reject Modi's statement on the situation in the province," Zehri said. "A handful of miscreants, manipulated by the Indian intelligence agency, are involved in anti-peace activities in Balochistan. People of Balochistan are loyal and patriotic... they love Pakistan and will never support the nefarious designs of the country's enemies," he said.
Zehri blamed India for unrest in Balochistan and said that arrest of a "serving" Indian navy officer vindicates Pakistan's claim. "India is behind terrorism, militancy and anti-peace activities in Balochistan," he alleged.
Zehri asserted that the situation in Balochistan is very different from that of Kashmir where he claimed people want freedom from India and Indian armed forces.
"But in Balochistan, the people want to live within the legal framework of the country," he said. Zehri said there was no fight for freedom in Balochistan as only a few misguided youth were involved in militancy and anti-peace activities in the province.
Prime Minister Modi also made a mention of atrocities committed by Pakistan in Balochistan in his Indepence Day speech today. "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 -- for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me, the way they conveyed their goodwill to me recently," he said.
This is for the first time the disturbed areas in the control of Pakistan have been mentioned by any Prime Minister during his Independence Day speech.