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Should the US support an independent Balochistan? – Aljazeera
A handful of US congressmen support creating an independent Balochistan, carved out of mostly Pakistani land.
By: Eddie Walsh
Some US congressmen support Baloch nationalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan
Washington, DC – 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.
In one broad stroke, this new approach would attempt to advance US national interests by redrawing the political borders of Southwest Asia – contrary to the the sovereignty and territorial integrity of three existing states.
While its advocates clearly do not yet have broad support for their initiative, the campaign for an alternative Southwest Asian policy approach is maturing and garnering increased attention in Congress and beyond, especially as a result of 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.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it’s nevertheless critical to understand how this alternative policy approach framework has evolved over the past few months.
The ‘Berlin Mandate’ as a loose framework
Continue reading Should the US support an independent Balochistan? – Aljazeera
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The battle over blasphemy – Riz Khan
Has Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law become a political tool in the hands of religious conservatives?
We will be discussing Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law with journalist Shehrbano Taseer whose father – Punjab governor Salman Taseer – was killed for speaking out against it.
The killing ignited a debate in Pakistan with many critics calling for the law to be amended or scrapped, saying it was being used to victimise liberal politicians and religious minorities.
But extremist groups have celebrated Taseer’s killer, calling him a hero who is defending Islam.
So has the blasphemy law become a political tool and should it have a place in today’s Pakistan?
Also joining the discussion will be Asma Jahangir, a well-known human rights activist, and Amjad Waheed, an Islamic scholar.
Read more : ALJAZEERA