WASHINGTON: Nearly a week after he chaired a Congressional hearing on Balochistan, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to recognise the Baloch right to self determination.
The motion, which has been co-sponsored by House Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King, highlights Balochistan’s troubled past with the centre after the creation of Pakistan.
According to the text, ‘revolts’ in 1958, 1973 and 2005 “indicate continued popular discontent against Islamabad’s rule, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while the province remains the poorest in the country.”
It is 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,” said the motion.
In a definitive spin to the current tension, the resolution asserts that 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,” adding that they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations.
In a statement from his office, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, added, “The Baloch, 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.”
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has strongly condemned the resolution terming it as “highly irresponsible and a blatant interference in the domestic issues of the country,” adding that it is a violation of international laws.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012.