National Assembly passes resolution against US congress debate on Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution presented by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday against US congress committee’s discussion on Balochistan.

The resolution, moved by the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, demanded that the government convey to the US administration in clear terms that such hearings were totally unacceptable. “The US administration needs to play a more proactive role in discouraging such ill-informed and motivated debates onsensitive issues relating to a sovereign country,” the document stated.

The resolution said in order to rebuild mutual trust and confidence, the United States should respect and comply with the will of the people of Pakistan as expressed through various parliamentary resolutions and also discontinue drone attacks.

The House noted with great concern that at a time when Pakistan-US relations were already under severe stress, the holding of such a hearing would jeopardise the healing process and further inflame public opinion against the US. “It would also add to the prevailing sense of mistrust and suspicion regarding US intentions towards Pakistan,” the resolution added.

Minister for religious affairs and chief whip of the treasury benches, Syed Khurshid Shah, said the government was not opposing the resolution as it pertained to an internal issue. Earlier, on a point of order, Nisar drew the attention of the House towards the discussion on Balochistan by a US Congressional committee and said Pakistan cannot allow interference in its internal affairs by any country.

He said if the United States was so concerned about human rights, why was it not taking notice of gross human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan. He wondered why the US did not show similar concern about human rights violations during the dictatorial rule of General Musharraf when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed, or when innocent girls were killed during the Lal Masjid operation. He said thousands of innocent civilians had died in US drone attacks while massive human rights violations were taking place in Occupied Kashmir.

“They have never discussed these matters or condemned them. The United States has always supported dictatorship in Pakistan,” Nisar said. The opposition leader appreciated the Army chief’s statement that the army was not carrying out an operation in Balochistan, and IG FC’s claim that they had nothing to do with missing persons.

Nisar said the government should hold dialogue with all estranged elements. “The government may not listen but it seems the military leadership is listening,” he observed.

The opposition leader said the Supreme Court should be complemented for ensuring the production of seven missing persons before the court, adding that utmost attention must be paid to the issue of Balochistan. “We should start dialogue with even those who have turned anti-Pakistan as this issue can’t be resolved by resorting to mere rhetoric,” he added.

PPP legislator Humayun Aziz Kurd observed that the United States had been interfering in Balochistan for a long time and foreign agents were involved in the target killings of settlers and teachers to sow the seeds of hatred between Punjab and Balochistan.

Minister for Science and Technology Changez Jamali called upon all political parties to sit together to resolve the Balochistan issue. “At the moment the chief of army staff, FC, the provincial assembly and political parties are saying different things. All should sit together to find a solution,” he added.

AFP adds: Islamabad on Monday accused Washington of meddling in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan, threatening to worsen relations still struggling to recover from a series of crises.

The foreign ministry said US Charge d’Affairs Richard Hoagland was officially conveyed the government’s serious concern over a US Congressional hearing last week that reportedly discussed human rights abuses in Balochistan.

Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the State Department, underlined last week that this hearing was a private initiative. “The State Department is not participating or involved in this hearing,” she said.

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