US Has Lost Sleep for Balochistan

By Ishaal Zehra

Eddie Walsh, foreign correspondent of Al Jazeera English, in his article “Should the US support an independent Balochistan?” interestingly writes “Over the last few months, a small faction of congressmen, minority Afghan groups, Baloch nationalists, and their supporters have laid out the framework for an alternative US policy approach for Southwest Asia. This alternative policy centres on backing remnants of the Northern Alliance and Baloch insurgents, who seek to carve out semi-autonomous territories or independent states from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

While supporters of this new approach are motivated by a variety of interests, they appear unified in their rejection of what they see as three cornerstones of the Obama administration’s current regional policy approach: 1) Normalising relations with Pakistan’s government and military; 2) Incorporating the Taliban into the current Afghan political system; 3) Overly accommodating an emerging Iran.”

Although, things might not be evident in their favor today but they seem quite consistent in their approach. They do not (yet) have broad support for their initiative, however the campaign is maturing and garnering increased attention in Congress and beyond. The point can be proved with the three recent high-profile events: a Balochistan National Front strategy session in Berlin, a US congressional hearing on Balochistan, and the introduction of a Baloch self-determination bill before the US Congress.

A glimpse into Balochistan region confirms the large number of militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks in 2010. It is a region torn apart with separatist organisations attacking the state, sectarian and ethnic attacks, and crime, including kidnapping for ransom. The issue of Balochistan is turning sensitive, and this sensitivity comprises of two main reasons. One, the real and unattended grievances of the Baloch people (not the made up one by few Pakistani journalists). Second, hype created by the media, which actually seems in coherent with the greater foreign plan against Pakistan. Media is an instrument which is being exercised by every nation to mould the situations for the purpose of acquiring desired results. Unfortunately, a chunk of Pakistani media is not exercising this approach while dealing with the important and sensitive issues like Balochistan.

Here the role of US is also an interesting point to debate. American double standards are visible as a day light. Surprisingly their lost love for Balochistan is quite evident by their documented resolution. The Representatives from California presented a resolution regarding Balochistan’s precarious condition asks for the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan on the basis of right of self rule, and the bill unexpectedly has been passed by the US Congress.

The congressmen seem quite eager in interfering in Pakistan’s internal issue while on the other hand they have closed their eyes from the real and persistent issue of Kashmir. Point to ponder is as to why Kashmiries have been denied right to independence on the basis of right of self rule? Nobody dares ask India to let the Kashmiries exercise their right to hold free and impartial plebiscite? The reply is simple, Kashmir issue does not fall in between their plan of carving out semi-autonomous territories or independent states from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

To understand Balochistan, one simply cannot look at it through the Afghanistan-Pakistan (US’s AfPak) box. Mr. M. Hossein Bor, as the only witness of Baloch ethnicity to speak at the recent Balochistan public hearing before the United States Congress, agrees to this. Not only he was the lone witness able to speak as a Baloch, he also was the only one with deep subject matter expertise in foreign trade and investment in Southwest Asia. And interestingly his testimony sheds light on the unrealized strategic and economic opportunities that an independent Baluchistan would provide to Americans, including the ability to contain a rising China and an emerging Iran, prevent an adversarial Pakistan from achieving strategic depth in Afghanistan, and ensure Baloch-American economic prosperity through new energy and mineral resource agreements in future.

The Pakistani Embassy made it clear that “Balochistan’s affairs and issues are an internal matter of Pakistan, and it is for the people of Pakistan and our democratic institutions to address these [issues].”

“We would advise those behind this resolution to reserve their concern and solicitude for problems closer to home. Needless to say, provocations such as these will seriously impact the Pakistan-US relations. We value this relationship but not at the cost of our dignity, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Embassy statement added.

locking it up, It’s high time, foreign finger prints traced in Balochistan should be brought upon in media with concrete proves and let the Baloch people know who is playing the game at the cost of their precious blood and national prosperity. And may be Pakistan, Iran & China should also move a symbolic resolution on forceful acceding of California and Texas to Mexico about a century back, after all they are the victims to this great game of great America.

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