US House Rep. Dana Rohrabacher – Why he supports Self-Determination for Baluch and Kashmiri?

By Khalid Hashmani

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher recently wrote an article “Why I support Baluchistan?” Washington Post:

In this article, Congressman Rohrabacher defends his action of introducing/sponsoring his resolution on Baluchistan to US Congress on February 17, 2012, The resolution says:

“H.Con.Res. 104: Expressing the sense of Congress that the people of Baluchistan, currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.”

The resolution has been sent to a congressional committee which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. According to the, the resolution has only 2% chance of being agreed to. The site says this probability is determined based on other resolutions that had similar title that started with “Expressing the sense of Congress that.” and the fact only 19% of all House concurrent resolutions in 2009–2010 passed both House and Senate.

The article says that his resolution calls for recognition of the right to self-determination by the people of Baluchistan after learning more details about serious violations of human rights by Pakistan security forces in Baluchistan in the February 8 hearing by the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations. The congressman says that Baluchistan is treated as “a colonial possession” by Pakistan. He further says that Baluchistan’s natural resources such as “gas, gold, uranium and copper are exploited for the benefit of the ruling elite in Islamabad; meanwhile, the Baluch people remain desperately poor.” He also says that in building the new sea port of Gwader, the local Baluch have been been dispossessed of land and their livelihood supported fishing has been destroyed while construction jobs and land grants have gone to Pakistanis from other provinces.

Congressman Rohrabacher claims that he has long championed the principle of self-determination and says he has equally supported the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. He says that in 1995, he introduced a resolution that stated in part: “a cycle of violence exists in Kashmir as a result of the government’s refusal to permit the people of Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.” He says that his stand on Baluchistan is consistent with his commitment to support freedom and people’s right to control their own destiny in accordance with their cultural values and sense of identity. He further adds that there are many people in Pakistan who also abhor violence by Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan and believe that Baluch have the right of self-determination to decide if they want to separate from Pakistan or remain to be a part of Pakistan.

Congressman Rohrabacher asks US people not to “a silent partner to a Pakistani government that engages in monstrous crimes against its people”, He says that the Pakistani governments have supported terrorists who have attacked Americans, including those of Sept. 11, 2001. He sites the example of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani physician who helped in confirming the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Dr. Afridi has been arrested and faces the charge of treason and called by a government commission a “national criminal” because he helped the United States in its attack on Osama bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan.

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