WASHINGTON  – Crossing the limits that apply to the international relations barring all states from interfering in the internal matters of other sovereign states, the US once again stabbed its terror-war ‘ally’ in the back by introducing a resolution in Congress calling for ‘independence’ of Balochistan.
A week after he chaired a Congressional committee’s hearing on Balochistan, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher tabled a resolution in the US Congress, calling for giving the Baloch ‘right of self-determination’ and their ‘own sovereign country’, raising Pakistan’s ire as the authorities resented the move. A private TV channel quoted Foreign Office spokesperson as saying that the move was an irresponsible act, violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and violation of international laws.
Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan in the south-west, bordering Iran and Afghanistan. The security forces of the country and the provincial law enforcement agencies have been fighting insurgents, who are duly supported by India, US, Afghanistan and even Israel. Pakistan has repeatedly raised the issue with all these countries, except Israel with which the country has no diplomatic relations, but the flow of men and material from Afghanistan has been continuing.
UN charter binds all the states to fully respect other sovereign countries’ sovereignty and integrity – but the US has a long history of flouting all laws and treaties of international engagement.
The House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives has been co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King. It highlights the US perspective of the history of Balochistan, and says that revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 “indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Balochistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan .”
Bringing Israeli interest more fully into the picture, the text says that there is also an insurgency underway in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran. Sistan-Balochistan is the Iranian province bordering Pakistani Balochistan and both these cross-border territories share large part of their cultural and historical traditions.
Rohrabacher’s resolution says that it is the US policy to “oppose aggression and the violation of human rights inherent in the subjugation of national groups as currently being shown in Iran and Pakistan against the aspirations of the Baloch people.”
The resolution then involves Afghanistan, saying the people of Balochistan that are “currently divided between Pakistan , Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.”
Afghanistan was invaded by US-led western forces at the pretext of fighting global militancy following September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Centre. The country is still under effective occupation of the US and her allies.
In a statement from his office, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said, “The Balochi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination. The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”
The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Balochistan the country’s poorest province.”
Rohrabacher is the same Congressman who had earlier this week introduced a bill calling for awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award, to Dr Shakil Afridi for ‘revealing the location of Osama bin Laden, directly aiding in the SEAL team operation to kill the former al-Qaeda leader’. Rohrabacher had previously introduced a bill in Congress seeking US citizenship for Dr Afridi.
Media reports had earlier said that Dr Afridi, who is now in the hold Pakistan’s security agencies, had organised a polio vaccination campaign in the city for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in order to collect DNA sample to prove that the al-Qaeda leader was present in the Abbottabad compound.
The US clandestine raid in Abbottabad and following incidents  including the Nato raid on Pakistani border posts in Mohmand in November last year that martyred over two dozen Pakistani soldiers – plunged Pak-US relations to their lowest ebb. Pakistan responded by stopping the passage of Nato supplies through the country and boycotted an international conference on Afghanistan. It also asked the US to evacuate two airbases in Balochistan that were reportedly being used for carrying out drone attacks in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan .
The US overtures on Balochistan were previously being taken in Islamabad as mere pressure tactics to coerce Pakistan back into the fold, but Friday’s resolution is surely something that would lead to more sharp and concrete reaction from Pakistan .
Interestingly Islamabad was a venue of a three-way Pakistan , Iran and Afghanistan summit on the sidelines of which bilateral talks between Islamabad and Kabul were also held on Thursday and Friday. President Karzai made a torrid attack on the Pakistani leadership in a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday, demanding that Islamabad produce top Taliban leaders to negotiate with him, forcing Gilani to halt the meeting where the country’s military and intelligence brass was also present.
The arrogance of Karzai, who considered a puppet of the US by his own countrymen, earned him a sharp rebuke from Pakistani foreign minister on Friday who said: “We are willing to look at anything. But if you have unrealistic, almost ridiculous expectations, then you don’t have sort of common ground to begin with”. This made clear enough that the Afghan delegation is returning with gaining little form this important bilateral engagement.