Modi PoK- es Pak in the eye at all-party meet­ing

PM says will reach out to Kash­miris; par­ties back ex­pose-Pak­istan move

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Saub­hadra Chat­terji and Au­rangzeb Naqsh­bandi

NEW DELHI: The time has come to ex­pose Pak­istan’s bru­tal­i­ties in Balochis­tan and Pak-oc­cu­pied Kashmir (PoK), Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said on Fri­day, blam­ing cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism for a vi­o­lent phase in Kashmir that has left nearly 60 peo­ple dead since July.

Modi asked the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry to con­tact ex­pats from PoK to gather in­for­ma­tion about the “pitiable con­di­tions” in the re­gion and ap­prise the global com­mu­nity.

The PM’s com­ments at an all-party meet­ing to dis­cuss the volatile sit­u­a­tion in Kashmir are be­ing seen as an es­ca­la­tion of rhetor­i­cal hos­til­i­ties be­tween the two coun­tries over the vi­o­lence in the Val­ley.

“Pak­istan has for­got­ten that it bom­bards its own cit­i­zens from fighter planes,” Modi said in ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to Is­lam­abad’s al­le­ga­tion of ex­cesses by In­dian se­cu­rity forces bat­tling vi­o­lent mobs in Kashmir since the killing of a Hizbul com­man­der on July 8.

A sec­tion in the In­dian es­tab­lish­ment favours a counter-of­fen­sive by New Delhi over hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in PoK and Balochis­tan, where Pak­istan’s se­cu­rity forces are ac­cused of ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings in a crack­down on groups seek­ing greater au­ton­omy for the re­source-rich prov­ince.

Modi said the govern­ment will reach out to the Val­ley but added that Jammu, Ladakh and PoK should also be talked about in the same breath when dis­cussing Kashmir, un­der­lin­ing the govern­ment’s ap­proach of tak­ing care of the en­tire state and not just one re­gion.

While Modi said the gov­ern- ment was ready to “talk to all” in Kashmir, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley told re­porters later that a de­ci­sion to en­gage with the sep­a­ratist Hur­riyat will be taken “keep­ing in view the pre­vail­ing cir­cum­stance.”

Home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh told the meet­ing that an all-party del­e­ga­tion to the Kashmir will be con­sid­ered “af­ter grounds were pre­pared in con­sul­ta­tion with chief min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti”.

All the par­ties bar­ring the Shiv Sena favoured a ban on the use of pel­let guns, which have in­jured a large num­ber of civil­ians in­clud­ing chil­dren. Many of them have lost par­tial or full eye­sight. CPI (M) leader Si­taram Yechury and some oth­ers sought lift­ing the Armed Forces (Spe­cial Pow­ers) Act, which gives un­fet­tered pow­ers to se­cu­rity forces, from civil­ian ar­eas in the Val­ley.

PTI PHOTO

PM Naren­dra Modi with for­mer PM Man­mo­han Singh and home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh along with oth­ers at the all-party meet­ing in New Delhi on Fri­day.

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