Quetta: Enthused and relieved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's expression of gratitude and indirect criticism of Pakistan's brutalities in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Baloch leaders on Monday thanked the Indian leadership and media for raising the issue publicly, but called for more practical steps to be initiated by New Delhi.
Mehran Marri, representative of Balochistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Union (EU) said, "We would like to thank Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for raising the issue of Balochistan in his Independence Day speech."
"PM Modi's pledge to raise issue of Balochistan on all international forums has given hope to people of Balochistan that we are not forgotten. We are suffering genocide in the hands of Pakistan military and Pakistan," he said.
Senge H. Sering, Director, Gilgit Baltistan National Congress, said, "For the first time such a big leader (PM Modi) has taken some initiative to highlight Balochistan issue. This might help us to expose Pakistan for human rights violations in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan."
Early today, Baloch Republican Party (BRP) leader Ashraf Sherjan also expressed his gratitude and thanked PM Modi for highlighting the Balochistan issue internationally.
The BRP leader hoped that India and Balochistan will soon celebrate Independence Day together. Sherjan also raising the 'Jai Hind' slogan, thus giving clear indications that the restive region wants to get free from the clutches of Pakistan.
"Want to thank PM Modi for highlighting the Balochistan issue internationally. Inshallah, soon we will celebrate India's and Balochistan's independence day together. Jai Hind," Ashraf Sherjan said.
On Saturday, massive protests took place in Gilgit in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, with the people demanding the release of their leader Baba Jan and asking the Pakistan Army to vacate the area. The protesters were also agitated over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Modi had said at a meeting on Kashmir last week that it was time for Islamabad to explain to the world its 'atrocities on people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan'. While calling for exposing Pakistan on the issue of Balochistan, Modi had also reiterated that PoK is a part of Jammu and Kashmir.