Modi ‘crossed the red line’ when he mentioned Balochistan: Foreign Office

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he delivers his Independence Day speech from The Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15,  2016. PHOTO: AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he delivers his Independence Day speech from The Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria on Thursday said an Independence Day speech by the Indian prime minister berating Islamabad – especially at a time when tempers were already frayed over the escalating violence in Indian-held Kashmir – has further strained ties between the two countries.

In his 94 minutes speech to mark India’s Independence Day on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said residents of Balochistan and Gilgit had thanked him for saying that security forces have committed human rights violations in their regions.

Zakaria said special assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi had said Modi’s comments “could set back relations in a far more serious manner than anything that’s gone before,” because the Indian PM had “crossed a red line” by discussing Pakistan’s internal issues.

Balochistan terms Modi’s remarks confession of Indian meddling in province

“I will just invite your attention to yesterday’s interview given by Tariq Fatemi and he did mention this thing that, and I’ll quote: ‘Prime Minister Modi when he mentioned about Balochistan, he actually crossed the red line,'” Zakaria told a weekly briefing in Islamabad.

He said a more comprehensive response came from the Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, when he said Mr Modi’s reference to Balochistan was “an admission of Indian state’s involvement in perpetrating and financing terrorism in Balochistan”.

“The statement by the Indian Prime Minister includes elements that are indeed a violation of UN charter… Modi’s reference to Balochistan which is part and parcel of Pakistan was an admission of Indian state’s involvement in perpetrating and financing terrorism in Balochistan,” he said.

“…Confession by Kulbashan Yadav, the Indian intelligence agency RAW’s active service officer, and which is an irrefutable proof of India’s involvement in what’s going on in Balochistan of late,” Zakaria said.

‘Modi’s Balochistan reference self-incriminating’

He added, “Indian Prime Minister actually tried to, albeit without success, to cover up the Indian state terrorism in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir where not only innocent people have lost their lives but thousands are injured and hundreds have become permanently blind due to use of pellet guns.

“It is time that India is reminded by the UN and international community to ensure the realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. The people of Pakistan, especially Balochistan and Karachi, have been victims of subversive and terrorist activities sponsored by Indian intelligence agencies.”

Law-enforcement agencies have been accusing India of fanning turmoil in Balochistan, which is troubled by both a separatist insurgency and violence.

Zakaria said for the last forty consecutive days, militant violation of human rights was being committed by Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir on defenceless Kashmiris striving for their right to self-determination.

He said Pakistan would take up the case of the atrocities being committed in Indian-held Kashmir in the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting.

“We participate every year at the highest political level in the UN General Assembly. This time also the prime minister would be leading the delegation of Pakistan,” he said.

“Like every year, we always raise the issue of Kashmir because that is an outstanding issue on the UN Security Council agenda.”

Asked about the status of talks between the hostile neighbours, Zakaria said the foreign secretary had written a letter inviting his counterpart to come and discuss the Kashmir issue, especially in the backdrop of the “ongoing grave human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.”

“The fact of the matter is that we have extended the invitation and we would like India to discuss, focus on the Kashmir issue, because you know what the situation is at the moment in the Indian occupied Kashmir. We have raised this issue on all the international forums and also with a number of countries. We will continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, the US State Department, while distancing itself from India’s claims over Azad Kashmir, has urged Pakistan and India to work jointly to resolve the Kashmir issue, which Pakistan warns has the potential to lead to yet another war between South Asia’s t wo nuclear-armed states.

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