US Respects Territorial Integrity of Pakistan, Shuts Door on Baloch Independence

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking about Balochistan from Red Fort during India’s Independence Day

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Washington, DC – The US Government on Monday (Sept 12) silenced voices from different quarters raising the issue of the independence of Pakistan’s poorest province Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan. Last month Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Islamabad and reminded the Islamic Republic’s leaders of rights violations in the Balochistan province and the Gilgit-Baltistan region in the country’s north.

Most of the Baloch separatists around the world welcomed Modi’s comments and hoped the US would support their efforts but the US State Department spokesperson John Kirby told journalists, “The US Government respects the unity and territorial integrity of Pakistan and we do not support independence for Balochistan.”

Replying to a question from Indian American Times if Washington supports the Baloch independent movement from US soil, Kirby told the daily State Department briefing, “The government policy is that we support the territorial integrity of Pakistan and we do not support independence for Balochistan.”

On the US reaction to the Indian prime minister’s statements on the subject, Kirby reiterated his position saying, “I just gave you our reaction to events there.”

Modi’s explicit mention saying, “People of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) have thanked me a lot in past few days, I am grateful to them,” from the Red Fort during India’s Independence Day speech was a sharp contrast to the joint Indo-Pak statement from 2009 when the then premiers Yusuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh met on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The 2009 statement read: “Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats … Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.”

The two nuclear armed neighbors India and Pakistan, have already fought three wars since 1947 in addition to umpteen border skirmishes.

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