US concerned about rights abuses in Balochistan: Munter

Published: February 13, 2012

Envoy expresses ‘regrets’ over ‘very tragic’ Salala incident. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: 

Insisting that the US administration’s stance remains unchanged vis-à-vis Balochistan, US Ambassador Cameron Munter asserted on Sunday that “there is no doubt that people in Balochistan are facing human rights abuses”.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Express, the top US diplomat in Pakistan said that his country was concerned at the human rights situation in Balochistan and the US administration should take up the ‘alarming issue’ with Pakistani leaders.

“This is an important issue for us to be discussing with the Pakistani government. But we don’t want to go beyond that, in a manner that might be destabilising to any part.”

Munter’s statement came days after Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Sherry Rehman called a US Congressional hearing on Balochistan as an “ill-advised move that would be detrimental to the trust between Pakistan and the US.”

However, Munter reassured that the Congressional hearing did not reflect a change in the US official policy.  “US government’s stance is very clear; we have not changed our position,” he said.

“We are always concerned, not just in Balochistan, but all around the world on issues that have to do with human rights. And let’s be honest there are human rights issues in Balochistan.”

Emphasising on the fact that the debate did not mean much in terms of policy making, he stated: “Debate in the Congress is an open debate, people can say what they want but our government’s position remains unchanged.

“The Congress is not controlled by our government. We welcome any discussion about the future of your country. Its means that if people are interested in human rights situation of Balochistan, then that should be talked about in public.”

The Salala attack

Recalling the ‘very tragic’ incident of November 26, 2011 when US-led Isaf forces ‘accidentally’ killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, Munter said Islamabad was ‘understandably’ upset with Washington.

“There has been a pause in Pakistan-US relationship after the very tragic incident in Salala in which Nato troops accidently killed some soldiers. A terrible accident which we regret and Pakistan is understandably upset,” said Munter.

“(Pakistani) parliament will be debating this issue next week. Since the Salala attack, we have not had that extant of contact with Pakistan about issues like the Afghan reconciliation that we would like to.

“However, we are committed to sharing all this information with Pakistan. Once we have this debate in your Parliament, we want to reengage as soon as Pakistan wants.”

Appreciating the efforts of the Pakistani military in fighting militants, Munter said: “We hope that, the efforts made by the Pakistani military, which are significant, will continue to be successful.

“We have nothing but the greatest respect for the Pakistani Army. Hence, we want to ensure good contacts over the border between Isaf and them to avoid terrible incidents like Salala.”

Regarding peace talks with Afghanistan, the US ambassador said: “We want to see an Afghan-led process to bring peace to Afghanistan and the good news is America and Pakistan agree on this.

The Qatar initiative

Stressing on the need to keep a direct contact with the Afghan government to ensure a timely end to the more than a decade-long war, Munter said: “We were delighted when Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar went to Kabul and had a successful meeting. This kind of contact is very important.

“There are issues that Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work on together. I think Pakistan can support the dialogue process in Qatar.

“Pakistan will always be included in that process. People in Afghanistan realise that they need to have a process that includes Pakistan.”

Stressing on the geo-political importance of the country he added: “Pakistan has legitimate needs in this region.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.

Reader Comments (68)

  • Nine-Zero Karachi
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Munter is showing more compassion than the leaders of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Someone
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:12AM

    Yeah? What about the mass human rights abuses committed by illegitimate occupying forces in Indian occupied Kashmir? Why have you dropped the leaf there, Mr. Munter? That region is a complete mess and a wild, no-go jungle area compared to Balochistan. Shame on you for doing nothing about it.

    If America is not going to solve Kashmir, Pakistan will solve it.

    Recommend

  • Sarah
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:13AM

    I see ! Is US also concerned about human rights violation in tribal areas that is essentially caused by their own selves?

    Recommend

  • Send drone attacks into India
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Funny how the Americans suddenly become concerned about Balochistan and ignore Kashmir, a two-decade old problem with much worse human rights track records. I think the only solution for Pakistan to obtain Kashmir now is through force. Invade occupied Jammu Kashmir like we did in 1947 and take control of more land as it is clear US is choosing to be in bed with India.

    Pakistan should also send drone attacks into Jammu and Kashmir and start targeting “terrorist camps” aka Indian army bases.

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 10:19AM

    Aslam u alaikum

    i want to say that you americans if you are our well wisher why you did not called a confference at your national level or y u did not support kashmiries and about Kashmir issue which is more dangerous issue than Baluchistan.and you plz dont interfare in our personal matters.

    Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Balochis should learn from Bangladeshi’s !

    Recommend

  • aaam sheri
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:34AM

    suddenly they the are “so concerned” .. ! attempt to pressurise Pakistan to enable routes to Afghanistan for NATO , they never seemed to care when Pakistan was fighting their war in tribal regions.

    Recommend

  • Baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:40AM

    Now the next comment over here would be…”What about all the punjabi’s and urdu speaking being killed in Balochistan? Why media is not reporting it?”

    Where is this person?

    Recommend

  • Anon
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:53AM

    How about you divert your overwhelming compassion to the aggressive abuses going on in Guantanamo and Bagram, and the useless drones that so far havnt really put a dent on the WoT except for killing innocent people.

    Recommend

  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:59AM

    US has backed out from Kashmir issue because of India telling them to take a hike and similarly US is not pushed at all about Palestine where USA’s illegal child ISRAEL is committing heinous crimes i.e. killing innocent children , women everyday.

    Recommend

  • Ghaznavi
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:02AM

    Likewise of of humanity is alarmed at human rights abuses by US, NATO and its allies:

    - Illegal detentions and prisoner abuse at Guantanamo bay, Abu ghraib, Bagram etc.
    - Illegal attack and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya
    - Illegal ‘contractors’ conducting extra judicial killings in Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Somalia, Sudan etc
    - Illegal drone operations killing suspects without trial and killing, maiming unarmed civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan etc.
    - Wanton killings by Raymond Davis types in Pakistan and elsewhere
    - Illegal attacks on Pakistani checkposts and intentional killing of so called ‘allied’ soldiers (like Salala)

    The list goes on….. will US answer for this???Recommend

  • saad amjad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:04AM

    the americans should show this much concern also for the genocide of punjabi civilians in balochistan being carried out by militants recieving american funding.this onesided concern by the american ambassador betrays his bias.

    Recommend

  • abbas
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Ya right, send us a list of all your worries and we will see what we can do. Also first take care of US public whose tax money is wasted in useless wars around the world.

    Recommend

  • Faisal
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:11AM

    Mr. Munter! When US will be concerned about rights of
    1- People of GAZA
    2- People of Indian Illegal Occupied Kashmir
    3- UN Charter

    Recommend

  • Nahmeded
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:20AM

    Yes rights abused by the sardars who despite governing Baluchistan since Pakistan came into existance, did not pay attention to the problems of their people. Marris, mangals and bugtis, all ruled that province and made money for themselves. These educated class of sardars kept their people uneducated by denying them right to education and thus keeping them their slaves.

    Recommend

  • The Baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:20AM

    Thank you America for bringing this issue in limelight.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:23AM

    Pakistanis concerned over rights abuses in Guantanamobay.

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:27AM

    @ashok sai:
    Probably Kashmiris too first. innit?

    Recommend

  • Atif Ejaz
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:28AM

    Aha, a new way to arm twisting, US you are always double standards

    Recommend

  • WhatTheWhaa?
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:39AM

    The one good thing that come out of Salala attack is that the US was asked to zip it by the Pak army and there was a peaceful quiet lull without the daily nagging from the US, telling us what to do and interfering in our affairs. I see that things are starting to improve between Pak and US since the Ambassador has started to poke his nose in our domestic affairs now. Seriously are you blind to the what the majority of the public thinks about these unwarranted statements by US. Yes Balochistan needs attention, but its hypocrisy when it comes from you, knowing your pathetic HR record. With all due respect mind your own business ambassador unless you want to increase the illwill amongst the pak public.

    Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:57AM

    @Ghaznavi:

    When you provoke(9/11) someone who is a superpower, you are bound to have consequences,
    feel proud to be in a prestigious club of Sudan, Somalia,Tunisia, etc.

    Recommend

  • Jpy
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Hope Bangladesh history is long forgotten by everybody. Some saner voices should put it in these hot heads who are breaking their heads on kashmir

    Recommend

  • Rajendra Rana
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:02PM

    @Send drone attacks into India:
    Do it soon, so that Indian forces get a early opportunity to carve out three more countries from Pakistan–Baluchistan,Pashtunistan and Sindustan

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:05PM

    Whenever someone talks about Baloochistan, Pakistanis are quick to remind the world about kashmir…haha..Hight of insanity..

    Their insecurity is very high.

    Human rights abuses in kashmir is very very less, but it gets highlighted bcoz of kashmiri muslims protest and biased pakistani media.

    Recommend

  • asif
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:09PM

    But you look the other way when it comes to the Palestinians.

    Recommend

  • asif
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Does the US want to break up Pakistan (seperate Baluchistan), so Pakistan becomes a weaker military power?

    Recommend

  • a jiwani
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:16PM

    Interfering in other country is a grave negating the charter of UN. It should be stopped urgently. This will hurt the people of the region however it will also leave a negative connotation on the dealings of USA.
    Independent UN should come into the picture after dealing with all its previous pending petitions which are present on its table for long.But the point is, UN has to be an independent body.

    Recommend

  • Chilli
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:18PM

    There is enough on Youtube.com to suggest how good US record of human rights is. Be it Iraq or Afghanistan, the US Army humiliated unarmed citizens and killed them as they were playing video games. Even journalists were killed by their deadly helicopters in broad day light. You need guts to become human rights champion after doing all this.

    Recommend

  • ashok sai ka baap
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:23PM

    @ashok sai: No you are wrong. Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan and will continue to remain so. Rather, people of occupied Kashmir should learn from Bengalis and break away for this fake country called India

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:47PM

    @Indian:
    Excuse Me Mr. Indian, You people are far more insecure than any one on this planet. Kashmir is internationally known disputed territory where as balochistan is a pure case of neglect and warlordism.

    Recommend

  • Basit
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Looks like the NATO blockade is really hurting.

    Recommend

  • Aristo
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:55PM

    There is nothing wrong in Baluchistan, its picture perfect situation there and keep your heads buried in the sand as usual. After a few years the same people will be crying out loud how come such a thing happened, Baluchistan was a heart of Pakistan, how could it break away the same way it happened in the creation of Bangladesh.

    These people have a habit of crying over spilled milk.

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 12:59PM

    If Pakistanis dont want foreign powers to get themselves involved in a Pakistani issue, then it will only be validating what India has been saying that Kashmir is an internal matter too!!!

    lol.. How does the taste of your own medicine?

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:05PM

    @ashok sai:
    Also dont forget Khalistanis. Sure they doesnt want to be part of your bharat mata
    LONG LIVE FREE KHALISTAN!

    Recommend

  • wasim
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Of course the Balochis deserve a lot better and all the atrocities should immediately stop but who will end the atrocities of the Sardars and BLA, MR Munter stop providing safe havens to terrorists in Afghanistan and stop providing them training, and stop launching clandestine operations in weaker countries to further destabilize them.

    Recommend

  • Voice of Baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:11PM

    We thank United States for taking a stand against killers.
    We shall get our freedom as its our basic right.Recommend

  • SOOMRO
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:19PM

    first of all US is not worried about human right violation, cause US is the major country that violates human rights. Destroyd Iraq, Afghanistan. Now its after Iran & pakistan. They are not worried about baloch freedom. They are creating this issuse because the Baloch nationalist have offerd their land & sea port to be used By US. USA should be ashamed to talk about human rights, they have killed more than 2 Million inocent Peoples in WW-II, dertroyd Iraq & Afghanistan. Recommend

  • ahmed baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:26PM

    We don’t care about kashmir..But we want freedom from Pakistan.. PLs withdraw your Panjabi Army immediately…

    Recommend

  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:27PM

    US and its envoy Munter should mind their own business and Balochistan is certainly not their business.

    Recommend

  • Kafka
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:28PM

    The Human rights situation is worse than what comes through the media. Baloch people are being persecuted just for being Baloch. So much so, that people have started moving out their families, especially women, to save their honour. Apathy of the Government, Media and the common people is almost criminal.

    Recommend

  • THE
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:44PM

    After reading about this interference from Mr. Munter every Pakistani should strongly support the Deffa-e-Pakistan Council!

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:48PM

    @ahmed baloch:
    Good Try indian. now go back to slum

    Recommend

  • Pro Pakistan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:50PM

    This is a statement of a sore loosers and black mailers.

    Recommend

  • pakistani baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:54PM

    why donot media show that how much baloch people love pakistan ..they only show bugti and marri tribes ….. we baloch are with pakistan….

    Recommend

  • pakistani baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:56PM

    @Rajendra Rana:
    what about khalistan,manipur assam and others???

    Recommend

  • International Spectator
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @Send drone attacks into India:
    @Someone:
    Pakistanis love to live in delusion about their own importance, grandeur and their strenght. No wonder the country is in such a mess that everyone thinks it can fail at any time and disintergrate.
    pakistanis seem to have taken bragging rights and rhetoric. Trying to drone infia and taking over kashmir are some of the absurd reamarks of a desperate mind.
    balochistan is different from kashmir. wheras J&K are an internal part of India, Balochistan was never a part of pakistan. It will force its independence like bangladesh. Thats what the world advises you. Delusion and Obsession of pakistanis, are sure signs of serious decay and failure of the country.

    Recommend

  • Someone
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:01PM

    @BruteForce: Kashmir is not your internal matter. In fact, its an international matter. Kashmir has been illegally occupied by India for over 60 years and continues to rot. It is an internationally disputed territory and will, in a couple of decades, become a part of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Billu
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:04PM

    @Rajendra Rana: You can’t even stop 12 men with Ak-47s coming from a ship (If I am to believe the official version of events) who wreak havoc in your largest city. Learn to deal with them first. And then think of your pipedreams of Pashtunistan, Sindustan etc. LOL

    PS: You Better worry about kashmir, khalistan, and northeast India, who will become independent countries soon

    Recommend

  • A.I.Baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:17PM

    Why he is not concerned about Israelis turning Gaza into a living concentration camp? Worlds biggest violator human rights is concerned about us. They dont care about poor Baloch people and their rights but they want a geo-strategic piece of land.

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:50PM

    The chickens have come home to roost. After decades of begging for international intervention to solve disputes with India, and highlighting apparent abuses within J&K that are consequent to Pak’s export of terrorism and strident anti-India rhetoric, the world has come full circle. Let’s leave aside the fact that US has no locus standi to comment on an internal Pak issue (this is correct) and has no moral ground either (given its own human rights record in Guantanamo etc), this is merely proof that what goes around comes around. Clean up your house and stay internally strong, because the vultures are starting to show interest.

    Recommend

  • Ibrahim Baloch
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:51PM

    Thank You USA. Please support our struggle.

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:15PM

    @Send drone attacks into India

    Send drones to Kashmir and say good bye to “Pakistan” :)

    Recommend

  • WhatTheWhaa?
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:05PM

    @Rajendra and other Indians
    Bangladesh was easy to carve because it was geographically on the other arm of India and already separated from Pakistan. If Indians even think of carving another country out of Pakistan, then we will become India’s Afghanistan. If those raggedly crazies in Afghanistan using old rusty weapons can drive Americans crazy and thrash them, then imagine what the rest of Pakistan is capable of when it comes to you! Things have come along way since 1971, and if US blames us for its defeat in Afghanistan, then it’s better you keep your hand out, before your fingers get burnt too!!!
    Keep your dreams to yourself and focus on your raging insurgencies and seperatists movements with the Assamese and Maoists, go spread your human rights concern there. Hypocrites!Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:37PM

    @To all those commenting on Kashmir.

    You are absolutely right.

    The occupying forces in Kashmir should leave – which are the Muslims (Some Sunni Muslims to be precise!).

    Human rights abuses must stop – which are against Hindu Pandits.

    Recommend

  • Billu
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @naryana murthy: @To all those commenting on Kashmir.
    You are absolutely right.
    The occupying forces in Kashmir should leave – which are the Muslims
    Human rights abuses must stop – which are against Hindu Pandits.

    Don’t worry, continue keeping your heads in the sand. You’ll be looking the other day tomorrow when the consequences of your jungle-style occupation in Kashmir bear fruitRecommend

  • BlackJack
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:00PM

    @WhatTheWhaa?:
    You didn’t get the point – we do not need to lift a finger to separate Balochistan from Pakistan, as you seem to be doing all the work yourselves. I agree that the contiguous border is what keeps them within the Federation, or else they would have gone the East Pak way long back. Afghanistan is a pain-in-the-nether-regions for the US because it is an occupying force – once they leave and go back home, it will become Pakistan’s headache but once again. And the proxy war that you are running in Kashmir is the worst you can do; anything overt would be a declaration of war and the consequences are not likely to be pretty. Pls remember that you are living hand-to-mouth; fundamentalist zeal and nationalism will not outweigh the debilitating economic cost of an ill-advised war that you are unlikely to survive in one piece. At the same time, pls note that we DO NOT want an unstable Pakistan overrun with jihadis – and hope you manage to stay afloat and stable.Recommend

  • AN
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:08PM

    Pakistan haven’t learnt a lesson since 1971.We added new country in 1971.Guess what we will do it again accept this time US will be on our side. Its good to see Pakistan as a whole struggling financially they have become a big time slave of US and militarily they have become a slave of China.

    Recommend

  • wasim
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:45PM

    Anybody still up for Aman Ki asha or giving MFN status to our neighbor, there trade minister should be handed over the cancellation letter of their MFN status and send home immediately.

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 7:10PM

    @Someone:

    The last time I checked it was India who had the instrument of accession, not Pakistan. It is Pakistan whose occupancy of Kashmir is illegal.

    As per the UN committee recommendation India is still waiting for Pakistan to move out of Kashmir and get back the land from the Chinese to hold a plebiscite

    “It is an internationally disputed territory and will, in a couple of decades, become a part of Pakistan. “

    In 65 years Pakistan has lost half its Territory in its obsession with Kashmir and you think in a couple of decades a Super Power India will break up? What a crazy theory!

    Lets wait and see if Pakistan even exists in that time, it is already 12th most failed Country, whose to say it wont better itself on the failed Country list?.

    Recommend

  • antanu g
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:50PM

    wow…..and what about deaths of innocents through drone attacks in the name of collateral damage?

    Recommend

  • mir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:18PM

    @pakistani baloch:
    i dont think you know that biggest baloch tribes are marris and bugtis and they are influential too both in sindh and balochistan if you margenlise them you are margenlising big chunk of baloch population.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:15PM

    Well, if Pakistan thought it could play a double game and get away – it is wrong. You cannot just wish away America after having accepted billions in aid over the past decades and then supporting anti- US sentiments among the people on Pakistan’s streets and supporting mujahids in Afghanistan. Now, here is a new card that the US is playing (Balochistan). Try dealing with it and believe me the Americans have more coming if Pakistan does not toe their line. The best way forward for the country is to slowly begin relying on its own capabilities and over time reduce reliance on others. Again nothing dramatic or drastic but a slow process of nation building and strengthening democratic institutions (though the easiest option would seem to be to unplug from US and put all your fortunes in the hands of China…this would be repeating the same mistake).

    And for heaven’s sake stop singing the same Kashmir tune. Kashmiris will take care of themselves. Don’t make Kashmir the sole purpose of Pakistan’s existence. Kashmiri leaders/people might one day just decide that it would be in their interest to be a part of the boom India is experiencing (whether this is the right decision or not I am not commenting on that) and decide to say a polite ‘thank you but no thanks to Pakistan’s calls for Jihad. Where would that leave Pakistan who has invested everything in the past 60 years of its existence to this cause?

    Recommend

  • Abdul Majeed
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:21PM

    What about HR abuses in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kashmir – UN security council, US senators are unmoved. Double standards exposed again. This fake product is not going to sell.Recommend

  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Looks like the war for the Liberation of Baluchistan is entering a new phase. Americans won’t waste their time unless there are some strong reasons to do so. Strategically an independent Baluchistan suits Americans. Let us see what shape it takes from now on. India will certainly provide political and moral support and why not. After all Pakistan has been doing the same in Kashmir.

    Recommend

  • ahmed baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:21PM

    @ Zeta :- That is the problem with people from panjab… You consider everything to be Indian.. why are you so much afraid about India ……

    Why are you killing us ??? we want freedom.. no-one can stop us.. Now we are having support from America. Thanks America…

    Recommend

  • War scenarios
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:26PM

    US wants to encircle Iran and wants bases in Balochistan. US has learned a bitter lesson in Afganistan, where Pakistan has double crossed US and NATO, and has proven an unreliable partner who can hunt with the hounds and run with the hares. So in the context of Iran, US cannot rely on pakistan, and wants an Independent Balochistan, who will cater to US interests from the East, besides giving the Balochs a new Identity. Eventually Pakistan will be dismembered as it cant sustain its size/population and religious/jihadi ideology in its present socio-geographic-religious scenario.

    Recommend

  • lahori
    Feb 15, 2012 - 9:05AM

    l@Nine-Zero Karachi:
    Well, i thought Munter was a serios diplomat! But now i know why he is sent to Pakistan, may beto to amuse his bosses at home.

    Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Feb 15, 2012 - 9:26AM

    @War scenarios:

    The only part of your comment I agree with is that PAK will implode.

    Recommend

More in Balochistan