QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri addressing a rally in Quetta on Thursday slammed Indian premier Narendra Modi's controversial claim that the Baloch people had thanked him for his support of the "so-called insurgency" in the province.
"We condemn Narendra Modi's statement on Balochistan. No one in Balochistan supported his statement. There is no comparison between the struggle for liberation in India-held Kashmir and the so-called Balochistan insurgency," Zehri said.
The Indian premier's speech on Aug 15, India's Independence Day, sparked protests across Balochistan, with large numbers of tribesmen taking to the streets in protest in Dera Bugti, Khuzdar, Quetta, Chaman and other parts of the province.
"People of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) have thanked me a lot in past few days, I am grateful to them," Modi had said.
Angry protesters set ablaze the Indian flag and chanted slogans against the Indian prime minister.
"We didn't ask the people to come out on the streets... They are on the streets themselves," Zehri said of the protests against Modi.
"The Kashmiris are agitating for their right to self-determination in accordance with UN resolutions, whereas in Balochistan there is only a small group working on the behest of the enemy country," Zehri said, referring to suspected Indian involvement in terror activities in the province.
"I swear on the blood of the dead, wherever these terrorists are, we will hunt them down."
"The Indian government fully supports the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan," Zehri alleged, adding "it is deeply involved in sponsoring elements like Brahamdagh Bugti, Haerbyar Marri, Zamran Marri and Allah Nazar," he said, alleging that Brahamdagh Bugti was "getting funds from Indians, that's why he supported Modi's statement".
Zehri's speech comes days after a video showing exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti appreciating 'support' given to the Baloch people by the Indian premier began circulating on social media.
"Shame," Zehri said, encouraging his audience to join in with chants of "shame".
"100 per cent of Kashmiris are demanding their right to self-determination, whereas in Balochistan, not even 1pc of people support the insurgency," he claimed.
"Balochistan is part of Pakistan and is run by a democratically elected government," the PML-N lawmaker said. "The Pak Army is ours and we will not tolerate any Indian interference in our internal matters," he said.
"Our fathers and forefathers made the choice to become part of this Islamic Republic of Pakistan. There will be lots of Modis and Brahamdaghs, but we will never tolerate terrorism, and we will never let terrorists go free," he said.
"We arrested [Indian spy] Kulbhushan Jadhav and his entire network," Zehri said, adding that the spy admitted during investigation that he had funded and trained lesser-privileged people and "turned them against Balochistan and Pakistan".
The Balochistan chief minister had earlier pointed towards the involvement of Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the Aug 8 blast in Quetta.
"The media asked how I could say that RAW is involved," Zehri said, adding that the reports he receives as CM Balochistan show him RAW's involvement.
"My claims were proven when Brahamdagh Bugti praised Modi. I don't think Brahamdagh should have done that."
"Our so-called nationalists who say they want independence for Balochistan ─ do you want independence only to become slaves to Hindus?" he asked. "The people sitting outside Pakistan, we know their intent," he said. "The way they will, for a little bit of money, get their own people killed."
"These people will make rivers of blood flow in Balochistan... For a little bit of money, they have become agents of RAW and India."
"Modi says that the movement for independence is the same in Kashmir and Balochistan. Modi... you killed Burhan Wani in Kashmir. For 35 days, there has been a curfew and people are being killed. Over here, even 1pc of your agents do not have the support of the people."
The Balochistan CM concluded his address by asking attendees to chant slogans of Pakistan Zindabad alongside him.
With additional reporting from Syed Ali Shah.