New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not the first to raise concern over the situation in Balochistan, Congress said on Tuesday, insisting that the party-led UPA government had consistently spoken about the "spiralling violence" and "heavy Pakistani military action".
"Congress and UPA government have condemned the human rights violations in Balochistan as also in PoK by Pakistani forces and establishment on multiple occasions in the past," party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, noting that the first time the UPA did so was on 27 December, 2005.
Besides, he said, none less than the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in reply to a parliamentary question on 2 March, 2006, categorically condemned the spiralling violence in Balochistan and heavy military action, including use of helicopter gunships and fighter jets by the government of Pakistan to suppress the people of Balochistan.
Earlier, in the wake of reported killing of 50 Baloch people in the Pakistani army action, a spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry had expressed hope that the government of Pakistan would exercise restraint and take recourse to peaceful discussions to address the grievances of the people of Balochistan, Surjewala said.
His statement came a day after the Congress appeared to be speaking in different voices on the issue and the AICC even distancing itself from the remarks of senior leader Salman Khurshid on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reference to Balochistan in his Independence Day address.
Congress had termed Khurshid's remarks as "his personal view".
In his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Monday, Modi had talked about the situation in PoK, Gilgit and Balochistan and said people from there have thanked him for raising their issues.
Noting that Modi must realise the "folly" of BJP and its leadership in opposing Congress and UPA earlier, Surjewala said the Prime Minister instead of indulging in self-praise and self-promotion as he did in the Independence Day address, needs to have a sense of history and must thank his predecessor Singh.
"Rhetoric from Red Fort and headline management by PM Modi is fine but he needs to tell the nation about the BJP government's actual 'Pak Policy' that leaves even the most vocal supporters of Modi completely confused and bewildered," he said.