US hearing on Balochistan: NA condemns congressional hearing; FO summons envoy

Published: February 14, 2012
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Lawmakers unanimously condemned US congressional hearing on Balochistan. PHOTO: APP/ FILE

Lawmakers unanimously condemned US congressional hearing on Balochistan. PHOTO: APP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Balochistan’s taking centre stage on the political landscape these days, but more because of what’s happening offshore than in the province itself.

On Monday, the National Assembly unanimously passed an opposition-sponsored resolution to condemn the recent US congressional hearing on Balochistan, stating that the initiative would jeopardise the healing process of already strained Pak-US ties. The foreign office soon echoed the lawmaker’s stance by lodging a formal protest with the US.

Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took the government to task for what he stated was its disregard of the issue, while proposing the resolution to condemn US “interference” in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

“It seems we are ignorant of our sovereignty,” Nisar said.

He also questioned the justification provided by the US administration that the Congress committee holds hearings of issues related to human rights violations across the world. “Why did the committee not take any action during the regime of former dictator Pervez Musharraf when Akbar Bugti was killed, (Jamia Hafsa) students were killed and when drones kill innocent people?” Nisar asked.

At the same time, the opposition leader appeared to give the military leeway as far as Balochistan is concerned. He hailed clarifications provided by the army chief that the military has no role in Balochistan policy matters and the Frontier Constabulary (FC) inspector general’s claims that missing persons were not in the FC’s custody.  “We always blame the armed forces but we should praise their response as well,” Nisar added.

Though PPP’s Mir Humayun Aziz Kurd welcomed the resolution, he said “a mere resolution cannot solve the Balochistan issue.”  He was also more cynical about the army’s statements, saying “I reject the statement that there is no operation going on in Balochistan”.

Nisar, however, seemed more interested in Pakistan’s sovereignty rather than the province’s grievances. “This resolution is only relevant to what is taking place in the US… and is against the violation of our sovereignty,” Nisar explained.

Earlier, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was warmly welcomed to the session with desk thumping by PPP members, and as he settled at his desk, the premier was bombarded by lawmakers approaching him to express solidarity.

Gilani, on the other hand, chose to remain mum on his indictment, and instead chose to respond to a question on the government’s initiatives for flood relief.

Formal protest

Nisar’s accusations against the government avoiding the issue, however, may have been a little premature. On cue, the government launched a formal protest with the US over the hearing on Balochistan, echoing Nisar’s words that the move was ‘interference’ in the internal affairs of the country.

US Charge d’Affairs Richard Hoagland was summoned to the foreign ministry to convey the government’s “serious concerns to the hearing held by the US Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations in relation to Balochistan,” said an official statement.

The American diplomat was informed that the US congressional committee’s action was unacceptable as it amounted to interference in the internal affairs of the country, added the foreign office statement.

(Read: A hearing on Balochistan)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Cautious
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:05AM

    Akin to drone attacks your sovereignty argument will gather you no sympathy from the international community. You don’t have a sovereign right to protect terrorist and you don’t have a sovereign right to abuse the people of Balochistan. Rather than spend time complaining about the American Congress why not fix the Balochistan problem – you know the one you like to talk about but never seem to fix.

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  • Feb 14, 2012 - 8:56AM

    I watched the full hearing and this was an utterly biased group of US legislators who have particularly strong constituents in the diaspora and felt obliged to pander to them. Ali Dayan and Christine Fair did a decent job in presenting a fair portrayal of what is going on. The other panelists were so belligerent that it was hard to make any sense of them. The lowest point in the hearing was when the only Baloch member on the panel suggested that the US should grant Baloch independence so that US bases could be opened there as a foil to China! Is that really what our Balcoh brethren want? I dont think so! Many diaspora communities living overseas are quite detached from reality on such issues — this is similar to the Tamil diaspora that lives in Canada who funded an insurgency that led to so much suffering and despair and was even more debilitating for the minority.

    I am all for advocating human rights for Baloch, Shia, Ahmedi and all “minority” friends but demonizing Pakistan will not solve the problem. I would even favor a referendum in Balochistan after a serious engagement process but this kind of prejudicial security posturing at hearings is not going to do anyone any good. The Baloch have to note that there is a strong Pakhtun presence (with their own set of sub-tribes) in the province too — trying to bring out tribalism will be detrimental for even a future Baloch independent state. Let us not forget that Pakistan’s President is arguably of Baloch ancestry too! Surely the head of the state should do more for the rights of the province that is so persecuted. None of this nuance was even noted in the hearing. Ultimate goal should be common vision of humanitarian unity in Pakistan and indeed across South Asia. Starting point for that would be peace between Pakistan and India.

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  • ahsan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:02AM

    Why US congress is not taking briefing from HRW about occupied Kashmir,what Indians are doing for the last 60 years.Secondly,own law makers did not mention at all about Kashmir austerity in their discussion.Our public representatives are also told by some force to remain mum.

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  • Unbiased
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:08AM

    @Cautious: Its hilarious neglecting Israel Palistine, Kashmir and many more and just focusing Balochistan due to its minarels and hidden gold, oil reserves on the name of human rights issue…lolz

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  • Baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:19AM

    where there is smkoe there is FIRE!

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  • Tim Hover
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @Cautious:

    We need to stop drone strikes immediately, and keep NATO supply routes closed, rest is all internal affairs and will be resolved in due course of time.

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  • Akash
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:36AM

    Why is “human rights” so interesting to Pakistan when it emanates from across the border but they wan’t the entire world to disregard what is happening within their own borders. Reeks of hypocrisy.

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  • Malatesh
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Yes, US should also start hearing illigal occupation of Pakistan in POK, doing human rights violations and looting kashmir resource.

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  • Ali Mir
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:16AM

    The hypocrisy within our ranks continues.. resolutions, resolutions and more resolutions!
    America on the other hand will never change, and rightly so. They have their aims and ambitions while we have none.

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  • Usman Ali
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:36AM

    US plays another card to keep Pakistan slave….but no chance,,shut-up USA….

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  • ahmed baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:41AM

    @Unbiased:
    @ahsan:

    what about :- Shia killing, Ahmadi killing, Hindus killing, Balooch killing, Mujahirs , Women ???

    Why are you crying about kashmir… what about us ???

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  • wonderer
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:58AM

    What is the point in complaining/protesting? What is the meaning of unacceptable? The US will do what it wants. They will not listen to what you say; may be add to few more dollars along with more humiliating conditions.

    The kind of hearing the US has carried out (I heard it on YouTube), should have been first carried out by Pakistan. Why did that not happen?

    It is surprising how Pakistan and Pakistanis are behaving; everyone is half asleep. There is no dearth of conspiracy theories, and blame games. You think the US will go away from Afghanistan in 2014, but you may be in for a big surprise. The defense of Pakistan seems to have been left to Hafiz Saeed, his clones, and retired ISI Directors General.

    Please wake up before it is too late, and Baluchistan goes the East Pakistan’s way.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:21PM

    @ahsan: ” …Why US congress is not taking briefing from HRW about occupied Kashmir,what Indians are doing for the last 60 years. … “

    Had it not been for Pakistan, there would have been no uprising in Kashmir. Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir has resulted in the current situation. Ergo, Pakistan is at fault – the whole world knows that – and so no senate hearing on Kashmir. Case closed.

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  • Umair
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:05PM

    Why are we fighting this war on terror…For whom!
    Long live Pakistan!Long live Balochistan!
    LONG LIVE SIKH EMPIRE!Recommend

  • let there be peace
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:12PM

    @Umair:
    LONG LIVE SIKH EMPIRE!

    Bravo. That basically includes present day Pakistani territory!Recommend

  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:04PM

    Solution to all problems; Akhand Bharat with Muslim President, Sikh Prime Minister and Hindu defense Minister. Hindu defense minister will ensure that army never takes over the country’s administration. Sikh Prime Ministers will ensure nation’s progress and Muslim Presidents will ensure the composite cultural heritage. Any takers?

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  • Waqas Butt
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:02PM

    May I know why the US Congress has never had a hearing on the human rights violations by israelis against innocent palestinians. Why US Congress is slient over killings of more than 100,000 innocent kashmiris by indian forces over the last two decades. Was there any bigger violation of human rights ever in human history than killing millions in Heroshima and Nagasaki by attacking Nuclear bombs.

    After killing millions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, every American has blood on his hands. They are not even at a moral position to pose the question of human rights violation when we look at their track record.

    US stop playing dirty games and never interfere into the internal matters of Pakistan ever again.

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  • Nazir Ahmed
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:12PM

    Sparsely populated, resource rich Baloch inhabited areas of this vast province makes it a lucrative target for occupation by the super powers. First the Russians had cultivated Baloch young men who kept diplaying emblems of Azad Balochistan on their car plates but the Russian physical thrust from the north petered out in Afghanisrtan. Now the US is all set to occupy it, being already positioned in the Gulf and Arabian Sea to effect their link up with bases in Afghanistan. They have done their homework and we can see the results. Even if they are forced to leave Afghanistan, occupation of Balochistan will give them effective leverage on Central Asian energy resources for which they came in this region in the first place.

    Our Army, under attack from domestic front, is already been committed in operations within our own country. Apart from FATA, the troops from Malakand – Swat have not yet been relieved by the civil administration. At this time there is no Army operation in Balochistan, The FC is an interior ministery force deployed in the Province to support the Provincial Government which now comprises of almost all the tribal leaders. Remove FC from the interior of the Province and hand over the area to those propogating Azad Balochistan.

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  • khalid Malik
    Feb 18, 2012 - 5:35PM

    Resources of Balauchistan if any would never be tapped and utilized by pakistan. if could be would have been tapped in 64 years. let the westerners do what they are good at. take and give is the solution similar to arab countries.

    cheers

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  • wonderer
    Feb 18, 2012 - 6:13PM

    @khalid Malik

    “Resources of Balauchistan if any would never be tapped and utilized by pakistan.”

    Oh really????? Which world are you living in?

    Just see this AlJazira video.

    Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

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  • khalid Malik
    Feb 18, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @wonderer:

    Truth is bitter This report only validate my comments balauch are being supressed even Gwadar locals are not getting jobs at Gwadar port. Please enlighten me which minerals and resources pakistan has utilized from balauchistan and used for the progression of balauch.

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