Bill on Balochistan’s right tabled in US congress

WASHINGTON: A bill has been tabled in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to recognize the right of self-determination for Balochistan.

The House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives has been co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King. It highlights the history of Balochistan, and says that revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 “indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan.”

The text says that there is also an insurgency underway in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran.

Rohrabacher’s resolution says that it is the 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.”

According to the resolution, 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 and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.”

In a statement from his office, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said, “The Baluchi, 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.”

The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province.”

Rohrabacher had earlier this week introduced a bill calling for a medal be awarded to Dr Shakil Afridi for revealing the location of Osama bin Laden, directly aiding in the SEAL team operation to kill the former al Qaeda leader.

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