New Delhi: Just days after Balochistan was referred to in the Indo-Pak joint statement issued in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt following a meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani, Islamabad has already launched an all-out propaganda against the alleged Indian interference in its troubled province.
Reports in the US media suggest quoting official Pakistani sources that the country’s Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani recently tried to establish a connect between Islamabad’s action against the Lashkar-e-Toiba and New Delhi ending its alleged covert operations in Balochistan.
The New York Times reported that Kayani, in conversations with the Obama administration, had tried to link Pak’s action against terror to stabilisation in Balochistan.
“They say, ‘We are being more vigilant,’ but add, ‘By the way, India has to stop messing around in Balochistan,” the NYT quoted an American official familiar with the conversations as saying of the Pakistanis, referring to the Balochistan province that has been torn by a brutal sectarian struggle, in which Pakistan has accused India of financing insurgents.
Kayani's move has made it clear that Pakistan would use the Balochistan reference in the joint statement in future to defend its action against terror groups and the delay in the 26/11 trial.
Islamabad may even go to the extent of comparing India’s foreign intelligence agency, RAW to its own ISI, which New Delhi has consistently blamed for anti-India activities. Pakistan is now expected to accuse the RAW of destabilising Balochistan, both at bilateral talks as well as international fora.
Richard Holbrooke, the US’ special envoy for Af-Pak, is already believed to have spoken to Indian officials about India’s “activities” in Balochistan.
Gilani too, following the ‘victory’ at Sharm-el-Sheikh, has made sure the issue of Balochistan doesn’t die soon.
While announcing the beginning of a new chapter in relations with India, Gilani has said the joint statement “underlines (Pakistan’s) concerns over Indian interference in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan” and “calls for working to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence”.
Prime Minister Singh is due to make a statement in Parliament on Wednesday to tell why he let the Pakistani propaganda on Balochistan be added in the joint statement.
Whatever the PM says tomorrow to defend that error, Pakistanis are already celebrating. “We’ve externalised an internal problem,” the Wall Street Journal quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying.
First Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 13:25