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‘Clownish talk’: Pak Twitterati react to Modi’s Balochistan remark

world Updated: Aug 15, 2016 17:12 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
PM Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 70th Independence Day.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Pakistani Twitterati reacted with outrage and dismay to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to alleged rights abuses in Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir , saying on Monday it would further add to tensions between the two sides.

Modi became the first Indian premier to mention the troubled regions in an Independence Day address when he spoke from the ramparts of the Red Fort. This was in line with the government’s decision to raise rights violations to hit back at Pakistan for allegedly stoking unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Well-known broadcaster Murtaza Solangi, a former head of Radio Pakistan, tweeted people in India and Pakistan could “forget” peace till the next elections in both countries. “After Modi mentioning Balochistan today, there is no hope. #WarMongersWon,” he said. Solangi said in another tweet that a stalemate with India would be a “personal loss” for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “as he ran his election campaign on peace with India”.

Columnist and broadcaster Farrukh Pitafi tweeted that it was “clownish talk” by Modi to compare Kashmir and Balochistan as he seemed to be “oblivious of context”. Pitafi added in another tweet that Modi’s comments did a “great disservice to the Baloch people’s movement for empowerment”.

Top Pakistani politicians active on Twitter, including Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan were yet to react to Modi’s speech.

Maiza Hameed, a spokesperson for the ruling PLM-N party, reacted to Modi’s remarks by tweeting that Kashmir has been an international issue right from 1947, and that a new generation of Kashmiri youth had been flagging rights violations.

A tweet by the Baloch Republican Party, one of the main militant groups fighting for an independence Balochistan, said: “Want to thank PM Modi for highlighting the Balochistan issue internationally.”

Ashraf Sherjan of the Baloch Republican Party, part of a number of parties and groups that are fighting for independence, said in a tweet that Indian support helps bring international attention to the issue.

The Baloch National Movement, one of the few parties that are part of the political set up in Balochistan, tweeted “BNM appreciates @narendramodi’s stand on HR violations in Balochistan. We hope other civilized countries also wake up against these issues.”

Baloch leader Allah Nazar Baloch, who is spearheading the insurgency in the province, welcomed Modi’s remarks but added: “If #India had supported us, Then situations of #Balochistan would totally be different.”

Allah Nazar Baloch has repeatedly clarified the insurgency in Balochistan is home-grown and does not receive support from India.

Baloch activist Karima Baloch said in her tweet: “#India and the world must encounter Pakistan on the war crimes it is committing in #Balochistan. It is a genocide going on.”

But another Baloch leader, who asked not to be named, said equating the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Balochistan was unfair. He said the number of innocent people killed in Balochistan was much higher and the insurgency the government is fighting has been in place for much longer than the current violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Read| What Baloch dissidents have to say about Modi’s comments on Pak ‘atrocities’

Read| Why PM Modi’s Balochistan barb changes the India-Pakistan game