NEW YORK - An American writer has denounced as thoughtless the bid by Republican Congressman to stir up trouble in Balochistan when the United States was in the process of rebuilding relations with Pakistan, an ally in the war on terrorism.
“At a time when the US and Pakistan are struggling to keep the friendly relations intact to break backbone of terrorists, the congressmen like Rohrabacher can spoil the efforts through their thoughtless moves,” he said in a commentary.
“The leadership of the US and Pakistan should discourage the hawkish elements in their ranks and move forward to normalise the ties between both the countries.”
Regretting that Rohrabacher labelled Pakistan as an “enemy” of the US in Tuesday’s press conference at National Press Club in Washington, Manual wrote, “Pakistan has suffered huge financial and life losses in the war and is still fighting it against Taliban and Qaeda-linked militants. Civilian leadership of Pakistan even sought help of the US in finding out a plausible solution to the issue of Balochistan, where Pakistan believes ‘foreign hands’ are involved. India has also been blamed for a number of times for exploiting the Balochistan situation and funding dissident Baloch leaders.”
Noting that the resolution presented by Rohrabacher in the house was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he wrote, “India and US State Department have also issued statements, saying they respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and were not involved in any conspiracy against the country. The US State Department also lowered importance of the resolution, saying it was an act of a lone Republican and does not reflect views of the whole House or government policy”.
According to reports, Rohrabacher, who was accompanied by Congressman Louis Gohmert, another Republican, was cornered at his press conference by Washington-based correspondents of Associated Press of Pakistan and a Pakistani newspaper over his controversial stand on Balochistan.
Asked if he would also support the people of Kashmir, where India’s was involved in the gross violation of human rights, the way he was supporting the people in Balochistan. Losing his temper, Rohrabacher blamed the journalist for “covering up” the Balochistan issue by linking it to the Kashmir dispute.
“Yes. I introduced several legislations supporting the rights of the people of Kashmir but it is despicable” to link the two issues, he said.
Congressman Gohmert disagreed with the suggestion that demanding the right of self-determination for the people of Balochistan was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. “The sovereignty rests with the people. If you are murdering your people, talking about them is not a violation of sovereignty.”
Rohrabacher, who mispronounced Baloch as “Bal-ook” for the entirety of the press conference, rejected allegations that he was being paid by a lobby or an individual to raise the Balochistan issue. Instead, he claimed Pakistan was murdering women and children in Balochistan. He said that his trips to the region came from the committee funds that were in turn financed by US taxpayers.
To a question he said: “I don’t see a sea change. They have become more an ally of China against the US,” said Rohrabacher. “But no matter what happens to US-Pakistan relations, the people of Balochistan should be given their right to self-determination.”
Congressman Gohmert said that if Pakistan changed its policies towards the US, “it will also become friendlier with its people”.