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Pakistan slams India for Balochistan comments

December 28, 2005 15:19 IST

Pakistan on Wednesday said India's comments that it was concerned by spiraling violence in Balochistan was unwarranted and tantamount to interference in its internal affairs.

New Delhi had also expressed concern over the heavy military action in the region and asked Pakistan to exercise restraint and address the grievances of the people of the region through peaceful discussions.

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Tasleem R Aslam said, "India often shows an unacceptable proclivity to interfere in internal affairs of its neighbours. Such tendency is contrary to efforts aimed at building an environment of trust, peace and stability in South Asia."

The war of words, a common feature in the complex Indo-Pak relations, has resurfaced after several months and comes weeks before the foreign secretaries of the two countries meet to carry forward the composite dialogue process.

"The statement is all the more surprising coming from India, a country that has long tried to suppress the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people and has a record of systematic and serious human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], the Pakistani spokesperson said.

She added the 'heavy-handed' methods and use of force by India to quell the ongoing unrest, especially in the North East of the country and the widespread violence afflicting many of its parts are well known and need no comment.

She said Pakistan was 'also intrigued by this provocative statement at this time when the two countries are engaged in the peace process to address all issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The (Indian) statement tends to vitiate the current atmosphere of improved relations that accords with the wishes of the peoples of the two countries'.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna had on Tuesday said, "The Government of India has been watching with concern the spiraling violence in Balochistan and the heavy military action, including use of helicopter gun-ships and jet fighters by the Government of Pakistan to quell it."

"We hope the Government of Pakistan will exercise restraint and take recourse to peaceful discussions to address the grievances of the people of Balochistan," he said.

According to Pakistani media reports, the Pakistani army has launched a massive crackdown on tribesmen in Balochistan, killing dozens of people.

The army has used helicopter gun-ships in the operations, which began on December 18.

The four-party Baloch Alliance claimed that 50 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the operation.

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