There are lesser known facts about ‘Balochistan’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an impressive speech on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day where he spoke about the atrocities against the people in ‘Balochistan’. He also said, that people of Balochistan and PoK have thanked him for raising issue of atrocities against them.
It was the first time, that someone of this high stature from India has raised this issue. What is Balochistan? What are its issues? How is India related to that? Let’s take a look at some of the facts about Balochistan:
• Balochistan, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the southwestern region of the country. Its provincial capital is Quetta. It shares borders with Punjab, Sindh, the Arabian Sea, Iran, and Afghanistan.
• It constitutes more than 40% of Pakistan’s area. It is the least developed province of Pakistan. It never accepted integration with Pakistan in 1947 and brute force was used in 1948. Since then the Balochi people call their land an occupied area.
• Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting insurgents in Balochistan through RAW. India has always denied its role in Balochistan’s insurgency. Whenever India had asked for proof, Pakistan has not been able to produce any credible evidence against India.
• PM Modi’s initiative of raising up this pertinent issue is quite commendable and he said people of Balochistan and PoK have thanked him for raising issue of atrocities against them.
• Although, Pakistan is upset with India’s stand on Balochistan. Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, while reacting to Modi’s Independence Day speech, said the Premier was only trying to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” that has been unfolding in Kashmir over the past five weeks.
• Dissident Baloch leaders have welcomed PM Modi’s statement. They said:
We appreciate the statement of PM of India. World’s largest democracy n being a responsible neighbor, India shd intervene in Balochistan.— Brahumdagh Bugti (@BBugti) August 12, 2016. (sic)
Another Balochistan Activist Hammal Haider Baloch said, “We welcome PM Modi’s statement to support freedom movement of Balochistan”.
• While security experts have welcomed shift on India’s stand, Congress slammed PM’s statement. Congress leader and former External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, “PoK is our right. Our entitlement. We will support it. But by bringing in Balochistan, you are ruining our case... We are going to ruin our own case on PoK.”