In a marked departure, Pakistan on Friday steered clear of accusing India of stirring trouble in strife-torn Balochistan. Despite repeated leading questions pointing to Pakistan's earlier stance that India had a role in destabilizing Balochistan, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit refused to be provoked; maintaining that the government did not want to engage in public recrimination at this juncture.

Fielding questions on Balochistan at the routine briefing of the Foreign Office, Mr. Basit's reply to questions on the involvement of foreign hands in the situation in the province was: “There has been evidence of this. Let us not talk about this now. The Government is cognizant of this and the Government is eager to handle this politically.''

Asked why Baloch separatist leaders took asylum in Europe when Pakistan has traditionally blamed India of supporting them, the spokesman said: “Without blaming any country, there has been evidence of foreign powers trying to destabilize Balochistan. At this stage, it is better not to engage in public recrimination because the Government is working very hard to resolve our own internal problems politically.”

On being reminded of the mention of Balochistan in the joint statement issued by India and Pakistan after the two prime ministers met at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt in July 2009 and whether the Foreign Office's refusal to point the accusing finger at New Delhi now reflected a shift in policy, Mr. Basit said: “There has been evidence but we do not want to take names at this juncture;” adding that Pakistan expected other countries not to interfere in its internal affairs.

For long Pakistan has accused India of fishing in the troubled waters of Balochistan — where the demand for independence is gathering steam — but the Indian Government's counter has been that evidence had not been furnished by Islamabad till date.

And, before the Baloch Republican Party chief Baramdagh Bugti moved to Switzerland last year, Islamabad repeatedly claimed that he had been given an Indian passport and was living in Afghanistan with the backing of New Delhi and Kabul. In fact, the Pakistani refrain is that Nawabzada Bugti moved to Switzerland only when relations between Kabul and Islamabad began improving.

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