Tag Archives: Congressional

Congressional Briefing asks inclusion of Pakistan to “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” List

By: Khalid Hashmani

A Congressional Briefing on Minority Women’s Rights in Pakistan was held on October 18, 2012 at the main US Capitol Building, Room HC-5. The focus of the briefing was to inform the staff of members of the U. S. Congress on legal, institutional, and societal challenges faced by the women of minority faiths in Pakistan. As the briefing was organized by the Hindu American Foundation, many of the details provided in the briefing were on the issues of Sindhi Hindu women. A recent videotape that detailed the stories of abduction and forcible conversion of Sindhi Hindu women was also shown. A case was made that Pakistani establishment was creating a rift between Muslim and Hindu Sindhis and forcing Hindus to migrate from Pakistan. Among several recommendations made at the briefing, there appear to be a substantial agreement that the U. S. State department be asked to include Pakistan to the “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list. Other countries that are already on the CPC list include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan

 (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/c13281.htm).

Continue reading Congressional Briefing asks inclusion of Pakistan to “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” List

Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joins the Congressional Sindh Caucus

Previously two speeches one by Congresmen Brad Sherman and Adam Schif were circulated on You Tube. FW below is the speech by Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Meloney during the SAPAC 3rd Annual Celebration, September 12, 2012. Congresswoman Melony has also joined the Congressional Sindh Caucus.Thanks to the efforts of Dr. A.W. Bhatti and Munawar Laghari. A many more news of SAPAC will be shared on You Tube. Congratulations to the SAPAC staff for their hard work and dedication.

Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney SAPAC 3rd Annual Celebration September 12, 2012

Continue reading Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joins the Congressional Sindh Caucus

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:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-i-support-baluchistan/2012/04/06/gIQAQ17Z0S_story.html

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:

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

Balochistan: Silence of the courts

By Yunas Samad

Balochistan has been burning in the background for sometime, but what made Congress — to the embarrassment of the State Department and the Government of Pakistan — take up this issue now? Some say this was just a stunt but there is a growing frustration in Washington that Pakistan is double-dealing with the US; taking substantial aid dollars and then pursuing a strategy in Afghanistan which is costing lives of US soldiers. American troops have now been in Afghanistan longer than the Vietnam War, and there is considerable unhappiness with Pakistan for the grief it has caused them and an increasing desire, in some quarters, to hit back.

What is interesting is that for the first time, the international community is now reflecting on the possibility of an independent Balochistan, is being sold to them as a package, which would break-up Iran and Pakistan and give over Gwadar as a facility for the US fleet. Let’s be clear that this is a minority view; it is more of an attempt to embarrass Pakistan, but such developments can generate their own momentum and with time become a reality. Who would have thought that South Sudan or East Timor would become independent states? But those who live by the sword die by the sword and, this could easily be applied to countries.

Pakistan of all countries should be familiar with this theme after resorting to military force to deny the Bangladeshi people their democratic rights. Military solutions to political problems results in disaster and invite foreign intervention and we are repeating these mistakes again in Balochistan. Failure to resolve the human rights situation is creating opportunities for foreign intervention. From the extrajudicial execution of Akbar Bugti to the deaths of activists (1,100 according to Human Rights Watch and 10,000 according to Baloch activists) and their torture and disappearances are — in eyes of those critical of Pakistan, evidence of — crimes against humanity. Pakistani generals were fortunate that they weren’t dragged into an international court and prosecuted for war crimes after the Bangladesh civil war, mainly because such bodies could not function during the Cold War. However, in the unipolar world of today, we have seen Ratko Mladic of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, President of Liberia, Charles Taylor and Nuon Chea, of the Khmer Rouge all end up in court to get their comeuppance.

Our political leaders are in a huddle, trying to figure out how to respond to the crisis in Balochistan; idle resolutions condemning foreign interference are being passed but our judiciary remains inactive and silent on this issue. It is tragic that our activist judges have not seen the abuse of fundamental rights in Balochistan to be given priority, particularly since the Baloch disappearance case was an important reason for the clash between former General Pervez Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Why cases about presidential corruption are considered more important than cases of extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances beats me? It only resonates with the Baloch nationalist argument that they are not treated like Pakistani citizens and hence, want independence, even if it means becoming a satellite of the US. The best possible response to the Congressional hearing is for the judiciary to demonstrate that it actively safeguards the fundamental rights of all the citizens of Pakistan.

The judiciary needs to investigate the killing of Akbar Bugti and if necessary charge Musharraf, reopen the case on disappearances and threaten contempt charges against the agencies for ignoring their orders. The Supreme Court cannot sit idle and ignore these issues by risking greater foreign interference in the matter. It needs to demonstrate to the Baloch people and the world that they are, in fact, citizens of Pakistan and their rights are protected.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.

Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, leader of the Balochistan Independence movement, on the US Congressional Hearing

Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch delivers a speech to Baloch freedom fighters on February 9, 2012 with reference to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Investigations Sub-Committee Hearing on Balochistan held on February 8, 2012.

Everywhere, when the war for national independence breaks out, it is fought with national strength. And when the Baloch nation began its war for national independence, its basis was national enslavement. Whenever, if there is a nation that has a homeland, has a language, has a culture, that has been stolen, its national history is being wiped out, then that nation begins its war for national independence. War is not necessarily to be fought with the gun. However, the gun is the means for that war, is the means for that politics.

Continue reading Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, leader of the Balochistan Independence movement, on the US Congressional Hearing

Javed Hashmi seems to believe that the USA, India and Israel are conspiring together against Pakistan and want to split Balochistan from Pakistan

Hashmi slams US over Congressional Balochistan bill

Javed Hashmi said that US will be failed in its intentions regarding Balochistan resolution.

Talking to the media in Multan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said that the pressure will be increased if rulers will be weak.

Only those face pressure who are neat and clean, Hashmi said. He said that assemblies are bogus as no public problem is resolved in four years. …..

Read more » Duniya News

DAWN – “No peace in Balochistan without referendum” – Eddie Walsh

The hearing showed that there will be no peace in the region without a referendum of self-determination. That cannot be ignored.”

As the sole witness of Baloch ethnicity to speak at the recent Balochistan hearing before the United States Congress, M. Hossein Bor disagrees with comments that he was not relevant to the proceedings.

Not only was he the only witness able to speak as a Baloch, he points out that he also was the only one with deep subject matter expertise in foreign trade and investment in Southwest Asia. From this perspective, he hoped his testimony would have shed light on the unrealised strategic and economic opportunities that an independent Balochistan would provide to Americans, including the ability to contain a rising China and an emerging Iran, prevent an adversarial Pakistan from achieving strategic depth in Afghanistan, and ensure Baloch-American economic prosperity through new energy and mineral resource agreements. However, with little time to prepare for the hearing and only five minutes of allotted time to provide oral testimony, many of these points were not expressed. Bor therefore looks to this post-hearing assessment as a mechanism to share publicly for the first time what he has shared privately with Baloch nationalists and their supporters. As one of the five witnesses called before Congress, it is assured that these remarks will be closely watched by all side to the Baloch debate.

Great Game 2.0

To understand Balochistan, Bor believes that one cannot look at Pakistan’s largest province through the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) box. In retrospect, this is perhaps one of the strongest contributions that he could have made at the hearing.

Continue reading DAWN – “No peace in Balochistan without referendum” – Eddie Walsh

Pakistan’s festering wound – TOI

On February 8, representatives of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International testified before the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations at the US Congress against grave human rights abuses committed by Pakistan’s security forces in the restive province of Balochistan. Since then, Islamabadhas used as many as 10 different channels to strongly protest against what it calls America’s “blatant interference” in its “internal affairs”.The issue has flared up further following the introduction of a House Concurrent Resolution by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher seeking the right of self-determination for the native Balochs. Pakistan has summoned the acting US ambassador to Islamabad twice in a single week at the foreign office, passed a parliamentary resolution and protested through its ambassadors in Washington DC and at the UN. Wasim Sajjad, a former Pakistan Senate chairman, while referring to HRW, has called for “immediately taking action against those NGOs or persons who are accepting dollars from the US and are pursuing their agenda on the lands of Pakistan and destabilising Balochistan.”

Although the congressional hearing and subsequent resolutions were not sponsored by the Obama administration, American diplomats still face the wrath of Pakistani officials due to utter ignorance of the American poli-tical system. Anti-Americanism is not unfamiliar in Pakistan, but bashing the Obama administration for a ‘crime’ it has not committed simply means there is something fishy in Islamabad’s cupboard.
Continue reading Pakistan’s festering wound – TOI

Balochistan resolution in US Congress drives Pakistan crazy

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: A resolution moved by a group of US Congressmen calling for right to self-determination for the Baloch people has driven Pakistan to hysteria, with its leaders from the Prime Minister down questioning Washington’s commitment to the country’s sovereignty.

Following a Congressional hearing last week on the human rights situation in Balochistan, the Obama administration had assured Islamabad that it is committed to the country’s unity and integrity, but suspicion runs deep in Pakistan that Washington is intent on fingering the country on account of its covert support for terrorists.

Some hardline American analysts have suggested that the Washington help the Baloch break away from the federation so that American and Nato forces can have unfettered access to landlocked Afghanistan, given how Pakistan has been holding the US to ransom.

While the hearing itself had caused much disquiet in Islamabad and pushed an angry Pakistan into lodging formal protests, the latest resolution has driven its establishment to hysteria and distraction. Pakistan’s prime minister Yousef Raza Gilani condemned the resolution as a move to undermine the country’s sovereignty, and the Pakistani foreign office and the embassy in Washington took exception to it, saying it was against the “very fundamentals of US-Pakistan relations.”

Politics behind the resolution: Introduced by California Republican Dana Rohrabacher and co-sponsored by two other Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Steve King (Iowa), the House Concurrent Resolution says that the Baluchi nation has a “historic right to self-determination.”

Stating that Baluchistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own, the resolution explains that “in Pakistan especially, the Baluchi people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killing,” and therefore, the Baluchi people “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”

The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination,” Congressman Rohrabacher said in a statement. “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 statement explained that historically Baluchistan was an independently governed entity known as the Baluch Khanate of Kalat which came to an end after invasions from both British and Persian armies. An attempt to regain independence in 1947 was crushed by an invasion by Pakistan.

“Today the Baluchistan province of Pakistan 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,” it said.

Continue reading Balochistan resolution in US Congress drives Pakistan crazy

U.S. mind your business – Sherry Rehman

US congressional hearing on Balochistan ‘ill-advised’ move: Sherry Rehman

By APP

Rehman says govt of Pakistan strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing.

WASHINGTON: Taking a strong exception to a United States Congressional hearing on Balochistan this week, Pakistan has termed it an “ill-advised” move that would be detrimental to the trust between Pakistan and the United States of America.

A Pakistan Embassy spokesman in Washington said that Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman raised the issue of an exclusive hearing on Balochistan by US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in her meetings with the members of congress and senior officials of the US administration.

According to the spokesman, Rehman said that the government of Pakistan strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing and considers it an “ill-advised and ill-considered” move that will have serious repercussions for Pakistan-US relations.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/334449/us-congressional-hearing-on-balochistan-ill-advised-move-sherry-rehman/

Rights violations shame Pakistanis at Congress hearing

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Guilt and shame were the two dominant feelings that overwhelmed many Pakistanis at a US congressional hearing room on Wednesday as witnesses detailed human rights abuses in Balochistan. Some were also troubled – while some felt elated – as all five US lawmakers who attended this unusual hearing of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations stressed the Baloch right to self-determination.

But this emotive session – which often drew warm applause from Baloch nationalists – offered little insight into how to resolve this difficult issue. Perhaps, that’s not even the intention of those who had organised the meeting. They wanted to highlight Balochistan as a possibly explosive spot close to a US war-theatre and they succeeded in doing so. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

The United States (US) Committee on Foreign Affairs is set to convene a congressional hearing on Wednesday (February 8), for an exclusive discussion on Balochistan.

The extraordinary event has generated great interest among followers of Pakistan-US relations, as the allies’ mutual relationship seems to be deteriorating. The powerful House of Representatives committee oversees America’s foreign assistance programs and experts believe it can recommend halting US assistance to Pakistan over human rights violation in Balochistan.

Calls for ‘independence’
While Islamabad has strictly treated Balochistan as an internal matter, the debate on such a divisive topic by the powerful committee has highlighted the level of American interest in Balochistan and its support, if any, for the nationalist movement. On its part, Pakistan has kept Washington at arm’s length on the Balochistan issue, by refusing to grant it permission to open a consulate in Quetta.

A Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who recently co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert expressing support for an independent Balochistan, will chair the hearing.

Continue reading DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest

Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.

Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.

As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.

Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.

Dr. Geeta Chainani to join panel at congressional briefing

– Dr. Geeta Chainani, Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, Dr. Louis Flam, Dr. Gul Agha to join panel at congressional briefing Hosted by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus. Date/Time: October 13, 2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Place: Capitol, room HC-5.

Beginning in August, the monsoon season hit Pakistan and has come to devastate the province of Sindh. With over 5 million people affected, including 2 million homeless and hundreds dead, the people of Sindh remain in a precarious situation. With little aid and relief, the Sindhi people are suffering from diseases, loss of livelihood, and nowhere to go.Join us to learn more about the Sindh, who the people are, and most importantly, how the Sindh region plays a crucial part in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and its security.

You can’t stop marching, even when it looks like there is no way, find a way, through the mud, and the muck, and the driving rain, we don’t stop … because we know the rightness of our cause – President Obama

“… You can’t stop marching … Even when folks have hit you over the head, you can’t stop marching … Even when they turn the hoses on you, you can’t stop … Even when somebody fires you for speaking out, you can’t stop … Even when it looks like there is no way, you find a way, you can’t stop … through the mud, and the muck, and the driving rain, we don’t stop … because we know the rightness of our cause …” – President Obama Speaks At The Congressional Black Caucus – 9-24-2011.

YouTube

Congressional Sindh Caucus Founded in Washington DC

WASHINGTON, DC (May 31, 2011) – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) is glad to share with the people of Sindh, Sindhis around the world, and especially American Sindhis that the Congressional Sindh Caucus was founded late last week at the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Dan Lungren, approved the registration of the Congressional Sindh Caucus. “The Committee is pleased to accept the registration for the 112th Congress,” said the confirmation letter.

The Congressional Sindh Caucus is co-chaired by Congressman Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California and Congressman Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana. Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from Southern California, was the first to join the co-chairs Member in becoming a Member of the caucus.

The formation of Congressional Sindh Caucus is a positive step in these critical times. “Sindhi Americans must come forward, support, and participate in these efforts” said Dr. Maqbool Haleepota, SAPAC’s President.

“I commend Congressman Brad Sherman and Congressman Dan Burton’s strong support for the Sindhi-American community and welcome the addition on Congressman Adam Schiff to the Caucus. The Congressional Sindh Caucus will be helpful for US and Sindhi-American interests. Sindhis are a natural ally of the American people. Sindhi language and culture and the education of Sindhi women should be the major priorities of the Caucus,” said Munawar Laghari, SAPAC’s Executive Director.