For the second time in a week, the U.S. Charge d'Affaires was called to the Foreign Office on Monday to register Pakistan's strong protest over American Congressmen's interventions on Balochistan. And on the streets of Islamabad, hardline groups held a protest meeting against U.S. interference in Pakistan's internal affairs.
Charge d'Affaires Richard Hoagland was told in clear terms that the move in the U.S. Congress — tabling of a resolution on Balochistan by a Congressman and seconded by two other members — was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations and violative of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and recognised norms of inter-state conduct. He was also asked to convey the serious concern of the government of Pakistan to the U.S. administration.
On Sunday, the American embassy in Islamabad had issued a formal clarification on the resolution after verbally distancing the U.S. administration from it. In its statement, the embassy had said it respected the territorial integrity of Pakistan.
“Members of Congress introduce legislation on numerous foreign affairs topics and these bills do not in any way imply U.S. government endorsement of any particular policy. The Department of State does not typically comment on pending legislation, but it is not the policy of the Administration to support independence for Balochistan,'' said the statement.
Pakistan has reacted sharply to the resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by three members asserting Balochistan's right to self-determination. The resolution was introduced by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who had earlier this month chaired the exclusive hearing held by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations on human rights violations in Balochistan.
After the hearing also, Mr. Hoagland had been called to the Foreign Office on February 13 to be told that such a hearing was unacceptable to Pakistan as it amounted to interference in the internal affairs of the country.
As it is struggling to address the growing demands for independence in Balochistan and the perennial climate of violence in the resource-rich province, Pakistani polity views the resolution and hearing as an effort by anti-Pakistan elements in the U.S. to lend muscle to the Baloch national movement that has been festering for decades now.
Meanwhile, hardline right wing organisations that have banded together under the banner of the newly formed Difa-e-Council Pakistan held a protest meeting in Islamabad where they threatened “death to America''. Among those on the platform — set up at Abpara junction near the headquarters of the ISI — was Maulana Sami-ul-Haq who is regarded as the ‘father of the Taliban' as he heads the Darul Uloom Haqqani, the alma mater of the Taliban leadership including Mullah Omar.
U.S. embassy distances itself from the resolution
Hardline groups protest ‘against U.S. interference'