The recent Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee session on troubled Balochistan province of Pakistan is taken by Pakistan as interference into its internal affairs. The National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution against this hearing and the foreign office of Pakistan also filed a complaint to the US. Sherry Rahman, the newly appointed ambassador, also called the hearing a bad move by the US and said it will have serious implications for the two countries. Pakistani lawmakers asked for immediate resolution to the demands of the nationalists of Balochistan.
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan comprising of almost half of the total area of Pakistan but with only 6.6 million population. Balochistan is the largest and richest in mineral resources of gas, gold and copper but is is most backward and poorest of the provinces of Pakistan. The Baloch have faced atleast five military operations by Pakistan army since 1948. The central government in Islamabad and the provincial government have conflict over the natural resources and the the autonomy. Balochi people want greater autonomy within the Pakistani federation and now even want independence
On February 8, in a congressional hearing, five members of the US congress belonging to both the democratic and republican parties and a retired colonel of the army supported the Baloch right to self determination. During the same hearing, five witnesses, including representatives from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, spoke of how the Pakistani government was using American weapons against the Balochi nationalists and Pakistan has manipulated the war on terror to suppress the rights of Balochi people. The Chairman of the session also demanded for stopping the US aid to Pakistan and redrawing the borders of Pakistan.
Also present during the hearing was Mr Ralph Peters, a retired military officer, who in 2006 proposed the idea of a free Balochistan. During his testimony, Mr Peters said that it was a fact that Balochistan was an occupied territory and it never acceded to Pakistan and never wanted to be a part of Pakistan. Mr Peters also said that if a referendum is to be held tomorrow, Balochistan would vote to independence rather than being a part of Pakistan.
Amnesty International representative, Mr T Kumar, asked for applying Leahy Ammendment to Pakistani military in Balochistan as it was involved in human right violations in Balochistan. According to the Amendment, US will be required to stop funding a country whose military is involved in human rights violations.
Congressman, who had supported the idea of an independentBalochistan n a recent interview, expressed his concerns over the use of Americanweapons against Balochi people. Congressman supported Balochi people by saying that the Balochi people have right to separate from an abusive Pakistani government.
Pakistan is a democracy and it is dealing with the situation in Balochistan according to the international law. The US hearing indicates that the big powers are aiding the rebels in Balochistan and the hearing is part of a conspiracy to separate Balochistan from Pakistan. The government of Pakistan is taking necessary actions to solve the problems in the restive province of Pakistan and US should not interfere in the internal affairs of Pakistan. If Pakistan really wants Balochistan to remain a part of Pakistan, it should listen to the demands of the nationalists of Balochistan.