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PM Imran hints at holding talks with Balochistan insurgent groups

GWADAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan hinted at initiating talks with the “insurgent” groups in Balochistan.

“I have been thinking about talking to them,” said PM Khan in Gwadar, while referring to the armed insurgent groups in Balochistan.

“Perhaps, they had some grievances in the past and [they are] being used by the other countries [and] India uses them to create chaos.”

During his speech at an event in Gwadar, the premier said that his government wants to introduce 4G and 3G internet services across Balochistan because he believes “communication” was the biggest problem faced by the province.

He said no rulers, federal or local, in the past have dealt with Baloch people fairly and thus deprivation of basic rights prompted despair and resistance amongst citizens there who may have been played into Indian and enemy hands.

Nawaz Sharif in his entire premiership tenure went on international trips 24 times and shopped from Harrods, but he hardly ever visited Balochistan simply because there was no interest politically, he said.

Asif Ali Zardari, similarly, embarked on over 50 such trips but did he visit Gwadar for people here, he asked.

Times have now changed, he said, adding that we are now allaying the grievances of people there and giving them the highest by far PSDP share from the budget so people can benefit from the development, the premier said.

Violence in Balochistan has drastically increased in recent years after China invested billions of dollars in the infrastructure and other development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In 2019, the gunmen had stormed a hotel in Gwadar, killing at least eight people.

In June 2020, gunmen targeted the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi. Both the attacks were claimed by the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army.

Officials in Pakistan often accuse India of sponsoring terrorism and supporting the Baloch armed group in the country.

Jadhav, a serving commander of the Indian Navy and a spy of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was arrested in Balochistan in 2016. In his trial at a military court, he had confessed to his involvement in acts of terrorism and was sentenced to death in 2017.

On July 4, Pakistan National Security Advisor Moeed Yousuf said Pakistan has found evidence of Indian involvement in the June 23’s blast in Lahore.

“We can’t talk about their names right now but we have everything else like financial records, call records, audio clips but this is an ongoing investigation” Yusuf had said at a press conference.

He added after the blast, the IG and the chief minister held a press conference, in which they said that they have evidence of involvement of a foreign intelligence agency.

“Today, I can tell you for sure that this attack is connected to India’s sponsorship of terrorism,” he said.

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