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Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: As the insurgency in Balochistan gets into international limelight, several foreign governments have assured Pakistan of steps to curb activities of Baloch separatists on their soil.

“We have been assured that their respective territories would not be used for anti-Pakistan activities,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said on Friday while responding to a question about enhanced activities of expatriate Baloch activists, who have been rejuvenated by the US Congressional hearing and tabling of a resolution on Balochistan.

The spokesman said that taking notice of those activities, the foreign ministry “made demarches to the relevant governments”.

The Embassy of Switzerland was the latest one to get such a protest note last week.

Many Baloch leaders and activists have taken refuge in European countries from where they have been actively promoting their cause.

Pakistan has on several occasions unsuccessfully tried to block the rebel leaders from getting asylum in those countries.

Western governments have been generally sympathetic to Baloch separatists and some of them are allegedly patronising them indirectly.The spokesman said Balochistan was an ‘internal matter’ which would be dealt with in “our own constitutional political way”.

Replying to a question about Kashmir, he said normalisation of relations with India depended on resolution of the Kashmir issue.

“Doubtless, we are taking steps on the path to normalise Pakistan-India relations, but reaching the final destination will inevitably be contingent upon realisation of Kashmiris’ aspirations,” Mr Basit said.

“Kashmiris have given enormous sacrifices in their legitimate struggle. The democratic government and the people of Pakistan strongly believe that the settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions is essential for viable peace in South Asia,” he said.

The two countries have made significant progress towards liberalising trade. The federal cabinet last month took an important decision about the negative trade list. It has already approved in principle the MFN status for India.

These developments gave rise to fears that the government has relegated the Kashmir issue on its set of priorities for ties with Delhi.

But, Mr Basit insists that “Jammu and Kashmir dispute is about the people of Kashmir; it is about their inalienable right to self-determination. There is, therefore, no question of freezing this issue or putting this core dispute on the back burner.

Realistically speaking, nor it can be done”.