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India concerned over army action in Balochistan
December 27, 2005 22:54 IST
Noting with "concern" the spiralling violence in Baluchistan and heavy military action there, India on Tuesday said Pakistan should "exercise restraint" and address the grievances of the people of the region through peaceful discussions. "The government of India has been watching with concern the spiralling violence in Baluchistan and the heavy military action, including use of helicopter gunships and jet fighters by the government of Pakistan to quell it," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said here in response to a question.
"We hope the government of Pakistan will exercise restraint and take recourse to peaceful discussions to address the grievances of the people of Baluchistan," He said. According to Pakistani media reports, the Pakistani army has launched massive crackdown on tribesmen in Baluchistan killing dozens of people.
The army has used helicopter gun ships in the operations, which began on December 18. The operations were launched just two days prior to the visit of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to the region. Locals have been up in arms over the use of force by the army, alleging high handedness.
Four-party Baluch Alliance has claimed that 50 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the operation. Baloch Nationalist leader and president of Jamhoori Watan Party, Nawab Akbar Bugti has been quoted as saying those jet fighters and US planes bombarded unarmed people. He said 18,000 personnel of army, armed with sophisticated weapons, had surrounded the entire area.