January 2, 2024
ISLAMABAD – Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar on Monday said Baloch militant outfits were being funded by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for carrying out terrorist acts in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, the prime minister addressed those who had called for militants to be presented in courts, saying that close to 90,000 people were killed in the country yet “not [even] nine people have been convicted”.
“The criminal justice system is not right. They commit 80-90 murders after taking money from India. I announce that they do all this with funding from RAW. Deny that they don’t,” he said.
Commenting on the police action against Baloch protesters in Islamabad, the premier acknowledged that it should not have happened. However, he said stones were pelted at officials which resulted in police baton-charging protesters and using water cannons.
He also strongly criticised those who had likened the use of water cannons to the situation in Gaza, which is being bombarded by Israel, adding that such people should introspect and reflect.
“I ask them, are they comparing the Pakistani state to the Israeli state? […] Our quarrel is not at all with the families [of missing persons]. They have come before and protested, are still protesting and will protest.
“It came to my knowledge that they had a confrontation with the police and that too was blown way out of proportion,” he said. Kakar said that many had thought they could become “heroes” by joining the movement, but added that it was not that simple.
The prime minister said there were militant organisations, such as the Baloch Liberation Army, the Baloch Liberation Front and the Baloch Republican Army, which believed in an armed struggle against the Pakistani state.
He said the organisations had “killed 3,000-5,000 people”. Kakar said the militants associated with these outfits also had relatives of their own, who protested in their favour.
“We accept the right to protest but we do not accept [acts of] terrorism by those linked with [Baloch] families,” he said.
PM Kakar said all those “wanting to become their supporters” should go and join the militant organisations to make it clear where their loyalties stood.
“I am listening to this repeated mocking of me regarding my ethnicity. What should we do? Give them the licence to kill? […] I want to reiterate that our fight is not with the families because it was not their decision that people associated with them took part in terrorism.”
Kakar said that Baloch families had the right to protest and speak even if they thought their relatives had participated in terrorism.
The premier said he should not be mocked for how he would be remembered by the Baloch people, saying he had a long association with them and his fight was against militant organisations.
He said using water cannons was “standard practice”, adding that the government had told the Baloch protesters that it was ready to talk with them. “Look at the demands they gave, I find it painful to even repeat them,” he said.
He said everyone questioned him about the treatment of Baloch protesters in Islamabad but no one held him to account for “14 people burning to death on the coastal highway”.
Kakar said “98 per cent” of the Baloch community stood with the country. The premier reiterated he had no quarrel with Baloch families but with “fake and lying sympathisers”.