bilateral ties

Balochistan rant Modi's diversionary tactics: Pakistan

INDIA-ANNIVERSARY/ Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the nation from the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi on Monday | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's references to Balochistan and Pakistani Kashmir are to divert attention from the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan said on Monday.

Pakistan's Foreign Policy Advisor Sartaj Aziz said, "The contrast between the Indian Kashmir and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir could not be more stark."

He was reacting to Modi's Independence Day speech in which the Indian Prime Minister came out openly in support of "freedom" of Balochistan and the Kashmir under Pakistani control.

Modi also lashed out at Islamabad for supporting terrorism and committing atrocities on people in Pakistan's largest province Balochistan and parts of Kashmir it governs.

Aziz said Modi was "only trying to divert world attention from the grim tragedy that has been unfolding in the Indian-occupied Kashmir over the past five weeks".

He said thousands of unarmed youth were protesting in the Kashmir Valley "for their right of self-determination".

The foreign policy advisor condemned crackdown on Kashmiris in the weeks of unrest during which at least 58 people have been killed and thousands injured.

"There is constant curfew. These events have nothing to do with terrorism," he said, calling the separatist campaign in Kashmir "an indigenous movement for self-determination".

Aziz said that Modi's reference to Balochistan "proves Pakistan's contention that India through its main intelligence agency RAW has been fomenting terrorism" there.

"India should recognize that the core issue of Kashmir cannot be resolved by bullets. It requires a political solution, through serious negotiations between India and Pakistan," he said. India has denied the allegation.

The remarks came hours after Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary invited Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to visit Islamabad for talks on Jammu and Kashmir.

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