"Hateful to me as are the gates of hell,
Is he who, hiding one things
in his heart,
When Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives about Balochistan, it sent shockwaves not only in Pakistan, but also worldwide. They talked about the right to self-determination for the Baloch people; a move that amounted at hitting at the sovereignty of this country. However, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani quickly reacted by condemning it.
Since the US attacked the Salalah checkposts without any provocation that resulted in the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers, relations between the two countries have never been better. For instance, Pakistan shut down the supply routes to the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan and demanded an apology from the Obama administration; whereas, America has been trying to get them restored and in its arrogance has just expressed its grief on the loss of life of the Pakistani security personnel.
Anyway, after this sinister resolution, the US Embassy in Pakistan has come forward with a sheepish explanation by claiming that "the US policy has nothing to do with the resolution." That Washington respects Pakistan's sovereignty and Balochistan is its internal matter. However, the mere fact that Rohrabacher’s resolution states that the Balochis have the right to self-determination and their own sovereign country, and that they should be afforded an opportunity to choose their own status, indeed, has an evil meaning. The Government of Pakistan is well within its right to demand an official inquiry into the incident.
More so, the Pakistanis are curious to find out about the people of Texas, who were forcibly put under American subjugation after the territory was annexed from Mexico. How would the Americans feel, if some elected representatives of Pakistan's National Assembly moved a resolution asking it to grant the right to self-determination and an independent status to them?
Similarly, the Americans need to answer about the American Indians (i.e. Red Indians), who have been forced to live in small enclaves as second class citizens, although they are originally owners of that land; they, too, have the right to ask for an independent state. Don’t they?
Next, before the superpower can talk about the rights of people living in independent and sovereign countries, it must answer about what has it done to free the Kashmiris from the occupation of 900,000 Indian troops? Unfortunately, Washington has never pressurised New Delhi to grant even limited freedom to them, and that is why they have lost more than 100,000 lives in the last six decades or so fighting for their right of self-determination. It has also failed to invoke the Charter of United Nations, which has passed several resolutions demanding that the Indians grant Kashmiris their right to self-determination. Also, USA’s encouragement and Indian interference are the main reasons for the unrest in Balochistan. The Indians are operating insurgent camps in Afghanistan to train and fund Balochi dissidents.
With such a shady past and now pursuing a policy of unilateralism, America cannot succeed in imposing its brand of imperialism in today's world. There are many examples where its interference on dubious grounds has resulted in creating chaos and turmoil in several countries. USA’s intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are recent examples. These days, there are widespread riots in Syria with irrevocable evidence suggesting that the rioters are being helped financially and supplied with arms and ammunition by the Americans through their agents to create unrest in the country.
The US and Israel are threatening Iran with war demanding that it abandons its peaceful nuclear programme. All these events, indeed, point in the same direction. That the Americans have sinister designs against the Islamic countries. Against this backdrop, the recently concluded summit meeting between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan in Islamabad could be utilised, as a counterweight to American designs in the region. However, this can only happen if the three countries realise that cooperation and settlement of divisive issues is the only way forward not only for their people, but also the region.
The regional countries, which are grouped into economic zones that embrace several Central Asian Republics and China, should try to locate new avenues for economic cooperation, as that will ensure better lives for the people living in these countries. Everyone understands that economic bonds ensure peace and harmony and, therefore, mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation should become the number one priority, if the countries within this region are to emerge stronger and safeguard their national interests.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, the public statement issued by President Asif Ali Zardari that the country will not allow its territory to be used for any adventure against Iran has been welcomed by both Pakistanis and Iranians. One hopes that the Government of Pakistan was also attentively listening to President Ahmedinejad’s advice, who wants that Pakistan should not allow the US to establish a Consulate in Quetta. He rightly feels that it could seriously jeopardise Iran’s national security by patronising the sectarian forces.
In the years and months to come, hopefully, security and economic cooperation between Iran, Pakistan and China, and at a later stage maybe Afghanistan, will ensure peace and prosperity in the region.
The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.