Jiye Sindh to get boost from Benazir’s killing’
* Gujarat CM’s remarks seen as cross-border support to secessionism in Sindh
NEW DELHI: Indian Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday sought to prick the Pakistani government by hailing the underground secessionist Jiye Sindh as an independence struggle and claiming that it would get fillip from former premier Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.
Raking up the Jiye Sindh Movement at this moment runs contrary to his own Bhartiya Janata Party’s full agreement with the Indian government only a day earlier that India should do nothing to create more trouble for Pakistan lest it spills over in India.
In Pakistan, the Jiye Sindh movement is seen as a parallel to the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian agencies are accused of fuelling and supporting this extremist group on the same lines on which India accuses Pakistan of promoting the Kashmir militancy by pursuing a cross-border terrorism policy. Modi, who wanted to speed back to the airport after consulting the central BJP leaders on his ministry formation and a courtesy call on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was stopped outside the latter’s residence by reporters for interaction.
Explaining purpose of his trip to Delhi, he seized the opportunity to speak about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to slip in hints of the Jiye Movement gaining ground in the Sindh region across Gujarat’s border.
“And yes, I want to say one thing more. I want to express my sorrow and anguish at the killing of Benazir Bhutto. This rise of terrorism in Pakistan is a cause of concern for all anywhere in the world. The whole humanity should sit up and ponder over how to fight terrorism collectively,” he said.
He went on to elaborate Gujarat’s “special relationship” with the slain leader. “We Gujaratis had a very special and distinct relationship with Benazir. Her grandfather was the Diwan of Junagadh and her father and other members of her family spent some years in Gujarat,” he said. “The Jiye Sindh movement has always been very strong, and this assassination will further fuel and strengthen it,” he added.
Over the past many years, Indian intelligence agencies are accused of aiding and abetting the movement. The government has, however, asked them a couple of weeks ago to better lie low and do nothing that fuels any kind of trouble in Pakistan that is already battling with the terrorists indulging in continuous violence.
Controversial remarks: Modi’s remarks are, therefore, seen in the diplomatic circles here as a cross-border support to secessionism in the Sindh province.
His party, BJP, has always decried anybody calling the Kashmir militancy as an independence struggle and hence his attempt to glorify the Jiye Sindh movement as aimed at independence of Sindh is bound to get a retort from the Pakistan government.
The political observers wondered if he were hinting at India backing the Sindh separatists alike Pakistan’s support to the Kashmiri militants if the BJP comes to power in Delhi in the next elections in 2009. iftikhar gilani
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