Not on the side of the angels

Published: February 21, 2012

Rohrabacher is clearly operating in bad faith.

For two ostensible allies, Pakistan and the US sure do spend a lot of time complaining about each other. The outrage of the week is the resolution, unlikely to pass, introduced by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, asking for the Baloch people to be given the right to self-determination and independence. This was after Rohrabacher held hearings on the plight of the Baloch in Pakistan. For the second time in a week, the Foreign Office has issued a notice to acting US Ambassador Richard Hoagland to give him a tongue-lashing over the issue. Doing so is little more than a public relations move designed to appease anti-American voices in the country. The Obama Administration has repeatedly distanced itself from Rohrabacher’s actions and even refused to send anyone to testify at his hearings. The separation of powers in the US between the executive and the legislature means it can do no more. Rohrabacher is clearly operating in bad faith. He has been an outspoken critic of Pakistan, calling for all aid to be cut off to us after the Osama bin Laden raid. Last month, he tried to introduce a bill to give the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr Shakil Afridi, who was arrested in Pakistan for helping the US run the fake vaccine programme that helped catch Osama. He even used the derogatory term “Pakis” when bringing up this bill. Just how radical Rohrabacher is can be gauged by the fact that he called Ralph Peters, a former army man turned analyst, to testify at the Balochistan hearings. In 2006, Peters had written an article for The Armed Forces Journal, calling for the break-up of Pakistan, including an independent Balochistan.

Just because one renegade congressman has decided to cruedly insert himself into the debate over Balochistan does not mean that the Pakistan government, and especially the military, can play the aggrieved victim and wash its hands of the matter. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that the future of Balochistan will be decided by its elected representatives. But she had nothing to say on whether those left out or disillusioned by the electoral process would have a say or whether the army would withdraw from the area and stop killing and detaining separatists. The future of Balochistan will be decided in Pakistan, not the US Congress but the government and military have to stop pretending they are on the side of the angels.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Feb 22, 2012 - 2:01AM

    “Just how radical Rohrabacher is can be gauged by the fact that he called Ralph Peters, a former army man turned analyst, to testify”

    The committee also called analyst C. Christine Fair to testify and right there in committee she called Ralph Peters a nut. Apparently the U.S. Congress approaches the Baluchistan issue with a balance and integrity that the Express Tribune lacks.

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  • Mirza
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:51AM

    We cannot continue hiding or head in sand and pretending all is well. We cannot continue blaming the “others” for our inactions. If we would not do the right thing the the world would. Let us wake up and smell the coffee.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 22, 2012 - 4:58AM

    Rohrabacher’s dislike for Pakistan stems primarily from his belief that Pakistan was hiding OBL and should be considered an enemy of the USA – not deserving of aid in any form. His position is shared by his constituents in Southern Calif and probably by most of the American public. It’s a logical response when your caught hiding the most wanted terrorist in the World who is responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 Americans.
    .
    Is his position on Balochistan biased by his dislike for Pakistan? – maybe – but the total number of dead/missing is close to 7,000 which makes this an issue worthy of international debate. If that makes Pakistan uncomfortable – tough.

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  • Brave Baloch
    Feb 22, 2012 - 5:23AM

    Poor congressman, my heart goes out for him as even his government didnt like what he suggested let alone the brave people of balochistan who has more anti american sentiment then any one else on the planet.

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  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Feb 22, 2012 - 10:09AM

    Whats stops a Pakistani NA member to propose a resolution affirming his/her faith in the struggle of the Hispanics in the Southern US states? A resolutuion can be tabled that Pakistan will support by all means the Hispanic Americans of their desire to succeed/break Away from the US. A similar offer can be tables for the Black Americans. I think we have more nuts in our parliament than theirs.

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  • wali baba
    Feb 22, 2012 - 12:38PM

    in my point of view the american mouse is trying to enter iranian fortress from Iranian Balochistan. as they have failed to protrude the defences of Iran from different sides now its a new tester achieving different goals like pressurising the govt of pakistan to open nato supplies, cancelling pipeline with Iran and at the same time getting the soft corner from Balochistan side

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  • Mohammad
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:23PM

    It is myth to believe that the United States , is a friend of Pakistan. Throughout Pakistan’s history , the US has used Pakistan and then discarded it as tissue paper. The actual US agenda is to breakup Pakistan so it can be controlled by Israel and India.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Pakistan must call back the military and FC from Baluchistan and hold unconditional talks with all sections of the Baluch people to resolve the matter. Bangladesh experience has taught the country that the Political and Economic aspirations of people cannot be defeated with violence. The World may not countenance another Bangladesh type massacre of people.
    What like Rohrabacher think and say is irrelevant.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Feb 23, 2012 - 12:53AM

    “The future of Balochistan will be decided in Pakistan, not the US Congress “
    Just like the future of East Pakistan? On the other hand, in a convoluted sort of a way, it probably is being “decided” in Pakistan!

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  • A Baloch
    Feb 23, 2012 - 1:53AM

    @Imran Ahsan Mirza:
    “GUTS” I’m sure!

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  • Farhad Yousafzai
    Feb 23, 2012 - 2:20AM

    The future of Balochistan will be decided in Pakistan………………LOLsssssssssssssssssss……..The future of Pakistan itself over the last 65 years for most of the times has been decided in Washington DC that happens to be in USA…..not to mention many Arab Gulf Shaikhdoms…

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