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'UK has no hand in Balochistan insurgency'

British envoy to Pakistan Mark Grant has rejected the involvement of UK secret agencies in the insurgency.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 11:12 IST

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Mark Lyall Grant has rejected as "unfounded" the charges of the involvement of British secret agencies in the Balochistan insurgency. He said this was a mere media speculation.

In a Senate report that will be tabled in the House soon, Grant stated this after a delegation of British MPs was questioned about the alleged involvement of British secret agencies in Balochistan in a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Defence on June 3.

"We have a great deal of interest in the stability and security of Balochistan, simply because that is linked with the security of British troops deployed in Helmand across the border in Afghanistan," the Daily Times quoted Grant as saying in the report.

Claiming that it was a mere media speculation that the UK had a hidden agenda in Balochistan, he said this was a "conspiracy theory" based on three factors, and that "nothing could be further from the truth".

Citing three reasons that had led to media speculation in this regard, Grant said first was a meeting between the British consul general in Karachi and Senator Shahid Bugti.

"Bugti might be considered a terrorist by some members of the military establishment, but he is also member of the Senate and no cases are pending against him. We don't agree with the policies of the MMA, but even then we meet its leadership to interact with each other," he added.

Second, according to Grant, a BBC correspondent had managed to get an interview of Nawab Akbar Bugti in an "entrepreneurial fashion" and it was believed that the British government might have helped in this.

And third, Grant said, several exiled Pakistani politicians were in London, including some who were related to Sardars in Balochistan.

First Published: Aug 09, 2006 16:28 IST