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India supporting Baluchistan violence: Pak

January 06, 2006 16:52 IST

As heavy fighting continued between nationalist rebels and security forces in Baluchistan, Pakistan has accused India of supporting violence in the troubled southwestern province. "India is supporting the miscreants in Balochistan," Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao told a press conference on Thursday.

"The reaction of the neighbouring country over the action of Pakistan's law-enforcement agencies against the miscreants is clear evidence that they are being backed by India," he was quoted as saying by the local daily Dawn on Thursday.

Surprisingly, several other papers reported that he accused a 'hostile neighbour', while Dawn quoted him as naming India.

India had, last month, expressed concern over the Pakistani military using helicopter gunships and jet fighters to bombard the rebel positions. Pakistan resented this, saying that it was interference in its internal affairs.

Sherpao made the allegations on Thursday, after holding talks with pro-government tribal chiefs of the province. Separately, Pakistan's former Army Chief Aslam Beg and ex-chief of ISI General (retired) Hamid Gul charged both India and the United States with fomenting trouble in Baluchistan.

In interviews published in The Post, both had accused Indian consulates located in Afghanistan and Iran.

"The terrorists who are fighting in Balochistan are friends of India and foes of Pakistan. That is the only reason the Indian government expressed concern against military operations in the province," Gul was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting was reported in Baluchistan between rebels and security forces. Ten people were killed as a result of this on Wednesday night.

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