Pakistan accuses India of backing Baloch terror group

April 23rd, 2009 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 22 (IANS) Pakistan Wednesday accused India of backing a Baloch terror group that it says is a remnant of the Soviet-Afghan war.
India was backing the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for fueling insurgency in the province and creating unrest, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

“BLA was raised and funded by Russia during the Soviet-Afghan war when Pakistan was supporting Afghanis and now India is backing its activities,” APP quoted Malik as saying while winding up the debate on an adjournment motion on the situation in the province after the recent killing of three Baloch leaders.

“BLA remained dormant since the Afghan war ended but it was reactivated after the killing of (former provincial governor) Nawab Akbar Bugti, whose grandson Barhamdagh Bugti has openly sought Indian and American support for independence of Balochistan in a recent interview,” Malik added.

He claimed that the Indian consulate in the Iranian city of Zahiddan, bordering Balochistan, was also involved in activities other than issuing visas.

BLA chief Bugti, in a recent interview to a Pakistani TV channel, had openly sought Indian support for Balochistan’s independence, Malik added.

“Barhamdagh Bugti is residing in Kabul just five km from President Karzai’s palace. Pakistan has continuously been asking the Afghan government for access to Barhamdagh,” he said.

The Afghan government, however, had been constantly denying Bugti’s presence in the country, Malik said.

BLA, according to the minister, consists of 1,000 Baloch students, trained in Russia and spread in various parts of the province.

Speaking about the law and order situation in Balochistan, he described it as very serious and said the government was engaged in sincere efforts to defuse tensions.

“We have taken all the parliament members on board and assure we will implement the recommendations of parliament in their true spirit,” Malik said.

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