Comments and analyses continue to pour-in about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day gaffe. The United States held out a categorical assurance to Pakistan that it did not support independence for Balochistan. State Department reiterated commitment to Pakistan’s territorial integrity and distanced itself from India’s effort to stir an international controversy over Balochistan. However, earlier there had been a number of moves by the US during recent months, which were interpreted as deliberate attempts to pressurize Pakistan and appease India. It was in this backdrop that Modi became power intoxicated and went overboard in his speech. Pakistan has been informing the international community that India and Afghanistan are stoking unrest in Baluchistan, FATA and a number of urban centres, however, it got little acceptance. Thanks to Modi’s hubris, Pakistan’s stance stands vindicated.

Statement by the State Department is a rebuke to the India PM as it is a straight forward message that the international community would not buy his propaganda; and that he should better focus on improving the HR situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Majority of credible analysts had all along maintained the existence of an Indo-Afghan nexus with the objective to destabilize Pakistan, especially Balochistan and FATA. Earlier both these counties were in a denial mode, however with the ascent of hardliner Narendra Modi to Prime Ministerial slot, caution began to be thrown to wind, and ultimate came on August 15.

These days Modi is busy in getting as many opportunists on-board his Balochistan bandwagon as possible, those on Indian pay role are jumping as a matter of compulsion. Anti-state slogans in Karachi were also orchestrated by one of RAW protégé—the MQM London chief—to dilute the impact of Modi’s goof-up. Due to fierce pro-Pakistan reaction by the MQM rank and file, he has lost control over his party, at least for the time being.

India’s international protégé former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was the only non-Indian to subscribe to Modi’s inflammatory speech. Karzai rushed to confession on August 20 about his involvement in meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs. While addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Karzai expressed empathy with the people of Balochistan and said Modi’s remarks are understandable.

During his difficult times, Pakistan in general and province of Balochistan in particular had hosted Karzai and his family as Afghan refugee for years. Pakistan’s say was also critical in his elevation to presidency of Afghanistan during Bonn I conference, in 2001. And this is how he has chosen to pay back. He chose to express his diatribe right from the Indian capital. It is for the people of Afghanistan to judge him for what he made of post 9/11 Afghanistan. During his two presidential terms, he thrived on blaming Pakistan for whatever went wrong or could go wrong in Afghanistan. He pushed his country into perpetual dependence on India under the innocent looking caption: “strategic partnership agreement”, knowing well that his country’s strategic peace needed such an arrangement with Pakistan.

Other clients of Modi are self-exiled Baloch heretics living in Europe. India has been propping up these separatists since decades, facilitating them in cash and kind, enabling their travel and providing them platform to make inflammatory orations against Pakistan. Karzai had also lodged some of them for years, then had to expel them under Pakistani and American pressure. Switzerland, current host of Brahamdagh Bugti, has already rejected his asylum request and case is now at appellate status. By all counts, Dr Aala Nazar has died and his statement is fictitious. Balochistan government has moved swiftly to register sedition cases against three separatists: Brahamdagh Bugti, the leader of the Baloch Republican Army; Hyrbyair Marri, the chief of the Baloch Liberation Army; and Banuk Karima, the leader of Balochistan Student Organisation-Azad.

Divya Kashore opined in his article “Indian flags set ablaze in Balochistan following Narendra Modi’s I-Day diatribe against Pakistan”, carried by International Business Times on August 19 stated that Anti-India protests had erupted in Balochistan over a statement made by Indian Prime Minister.

In Quetta, members of “Pakistan Workers Party” marched on August 18 to condemn Modi. Civil society activists and several other political organisations also took part in the march demanding that Pakistan government take the issue to the international forum. “The demonstrators set ablaze Indian flags and burnt effigies of Modi. They stated that terrorism in Balochistan is funded by India”.

“I have the evidence of RAW’s involvement in Balochistan, and whatever I say is based on evidence we have. RAW is providing training to the terrorists in Balochistan,” Balochistan’s chief minister Sanaullah Zehri said. “By saluting Modi, Brahamdagh has proved that he is a traitor. He saluted the man who is responsible for bloodshed in Balochistan”. Home Minister of Balochistan, Sarfaraz Bugti, also stood with the demonstrators and said that India should think twice before making any statement about Pakistan and its people. “This is Balochistan where the people are patriotic and will go after every terrorist who wants to create problems,” he added.

After agreeing to negotiate on Kashmir, India has gone back on its word. The proposal was initiated by Pakistan on August 15, within hours of Modi’s speech, through its foreign secretary’s letter to find solution to Kashmir dispute in line with both countries’ responsibilities in the context of Kashmir related UNSC resolutions. On August 19, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary had once again invited his Indian counterpart for talks. In a reply to Pakistani Foreign Secretary’s second, India has sought talks on alleged cross-border terrorism in the IOK. Stating India’s willingness to engage in foreign secretary-level talks but not on issues chosen by Pakistan.

At the weekly news briefing on August 25, Foreign Office spokesperson said India would always hide behind ‘excuses’ not to hold the dialogue. “We believe that dialogue is the best way forward and we, as a responsible country, want to resolve all issues peacefully through a meaningful, sustainable and result oriented dialogue,” he said.

While briefing the ambassadors of P-5 and the EU, on August 27, Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz expressed his regrets over the Indian decision saying Pakistan has always demonstrated willingness to hold talks with the Indian side but it has received the same response from the other side. The Adviser said the international community, has an important role to uphold the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law. The P-5 and EU Ambassadors appreciated Pakistan’s readiness for dialogue.

On the regional canvas, by not sending its Finance Minister to attend the SAARC Ministerial level meeting, India has cast doubts on the outcome of the forthcoming SAARC summit. Earlier, at the SAARC Interior Ministers’ conference, Indian Home Minister Rajnath had behaved in a disruptive manner that was not in line with the SAARC protocols by trying to ridicule Pakistan with regard to terrorism. When Pakistan’s interior minister responded to unmask the real face of India, it became difficult for Rajnath to digest and he left the moot, setting aside decorum and courtesy.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been ignoring saner voices within Pakistan to be cautious while dealing with Hindutva inspired and RSS powered Modi and erratic Afghan leadership, but exercising prudence, he continued to ignore their brinkmanship and kept giving them the benefit of doubt, now it’s time for him to rethink about his approach as the nexus has shamelessly bared its teeth.

n             The writer is a freelance columnist.