New Delhi: The Congress has supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his remarks on Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in his Independence Day speech, also distancing itself from comments made by its senior leader Salman Khurshid, who had criticised the PM’s speech.
In a statement on Monday evening, the main opposition party asked the government to raise the issue of Pakistan’s human rights abuses in its large province of Balochistan and in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir or PoK, at bilateral meetings with Islamabad as well as at international forums.
The Congress’ Randeep Surjewala, said his party did not subscribe to the “personal opinion” of former minister Mr Khurshid who had said, “PoK is our right. Our entitlement. We will support it. But by bringing in Balochistan, you are ruining our case”.
“The Congress does not subscribe to the statement made by Salman Khurshid who is a senior leader. He can have his own opinion. Our view is very, very clear. Congress party believes there are serious human rights violations in Balochistan and the voice of democratic dissent is being suppressed by Pakistani forces and agencies. Similar human rights violations are being committed by the armed forces of Pakistan in PoK which is an integral part of India…All such issues need to be raised and need to be sorted out,” said Mr Surjewala.
In his speech from Delhi’s Red Fort on Monday morning, PM Modi made it clear that he has completely rerouted his policy on Pakistan, delivering an aggressive message by referring to the human rights abuses in Balochistan and PoK.
Mr Modi said the people of those areas have thanked him for drawing attention to their troubles, a reference to his warning last week that if Pakistan continues instigating the violence that has seared the Kashmir Valley for over a month, India will be compelled to expose Islamabad’s many wrongdoings in regions fighting terror and atrocities by its security forces.
“We support the government. However, what is Prime Minister Modi going to do for taking up these issues on a bilateral forum with Pakistan so that suppression of democratic dissent in Balochistan and PoK come to an end? What is the government going to do about raising these issues on international forums?” asked Mr Surjewala.