India rubbishes Pakistan’s Balochistan allegation

April 23rd, 2009 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) India Thursday dimissed as “baseless allegations” Pakistan’s claims that New Delhi was backing the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), an insurgent outfit active in Pakistan’s south-western province.
“These are entirely baseless allegations and we see no reason to dignify them with a response,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

Rehman Malik, the head of Pakistan’s interior ministry and an adviser to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Wednesday claimed India was backing the BLA to foment an insurgency in the province.

In a debate in the Senate on the unrest in Balochistan, Rehman Malik alleged that “some hostile agencies” were hatching conspiracies to destabilise Pakistan.

He also dismissed BLA chief Brahamdagh Bugti’s demand for an independent Balochistan, and claimed the “militant organisation raised by Russia during the Afghan war is now being backed by India”.

“The BLA was raised with funding from the Soviet Union (during the Soviet-Afghan war) and it is now backed by India,” Malik said. The BLA remained dormant after the Soviet-Afghan war but was reactivated after the killing of Baloch national leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, he said.

Balochistan, a resource-rich province, saw a series of anti-government protests this month in the aftermath of the deaths of three senior ethnic leaders. Several local groups are demanding a greater say in decisionmaking and natural resources which they allege are not being used for the development of the province.

This is not the first time Pakistan has accused India of supporting insurgency in Pakistan. India has rejected such allegations several times in the past.

Accusing India of supporting Balochistan insurgents is seen here as a diversionary move by Pakistan to distract the attention of the world community from the alleged involvement of Pakistani nationals and official agencies in the Mumbai terror attack last year.

-Indo-Asian News Service

mc/pg/vt

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