The Congress has come out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during his Independence Day speech at Red Fort on Monday. The party also distanced itself from the remarks of its senior leader Salman Khurshid on Modi's speech.
Khurshid had said on Monday evening that "PoK is our right. Our entitlement. We will support it. But by bringing in Balochistan, you are ruining our case". The Congress has distanced itself from this remark and termed Khurshid's comment as "his personal view". The main opposition party asked the government to raise the issue of atrocities in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in bilateral meetings with Pakistan, as well as at international forums.
"Congress does not subscribe to the statement made by Salman Khurshid who is a senior leader. He can have his own opinion. Our view is very, very clear. Congress party believes there are serious human rights violations in Balochistan and the voice of democratic dissent is being suppressed by Pakistani forces and agencies. Similar human rights violations are being committed by the armed forces of Pakistan in PoK which is an integral part of India."
"All such issues need to be raised and need to be sorted out. We support the government. However, what is Prime Minister Modi going to do for taking up these issues on a bilateral forum with Pakistan so that suppression of democratic dissent in Balochistan and PoK come to an end? What is the government going to do about raising these issues on international forums?" the head of Congress' communication department Randeep Surjewala said.
He said the nomenclature PoK means that the territory is an integral part of India and Kashmir's accession to India is an issue which was settled decades ago. Surjewala said Pakistan had attacked and occupied a part of Jammu and Kashmir which was integral to India. "This issue needs to be sorted out and it can only be sorted out in favour of India," he said.