Balochhal Editorial: Congress’s Landmark Balochistan Hearing
Congressmen gave the impression that they cared for the people of Balochistan and were disturbed by human rights violations being committed by the Pakistan army in Balochistan.
Wednesday’s hearing on Balochistan of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs was a spectacular success under every standard for the Baloch nationalist movement. Chaired by Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California, the hearing was attended by four more congressmen, bringing together members of America’s two most important political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, to discuss the important issue of Balochistan. A very learned audience, comprising of policymakers, lobbyists, diplomats, intellectuals, defenders of human rights, journalists, and researchers of leading think-tanks attentively heard the proceedings.
The hearing was convened at a very critical juncture not only because of the volatile situation that exists in Balochsitan but also because of increasing breach of trust between the United States of America and Pakistan. It has assured the Baloch that members of the US Congress, who have spent all their lives guarding and promoting democratic values, stand with the people of Balochistan. Given the ideas shared by members of the Congress, it was very clear that they already had an implicit sense of Balochistan’s history, geo-strategic significance, federal government’s discriminatory and exploitative policies toward Balochistan but they had been kept in dark about the current state of affairs.
It was the highest democratic institution in the world where the issue of Balochistan was discussed at length. Members of the Baloch diaspora, who had traveled from all over North America to attend the event, said the program exceeded their expectations. They were jubilant as they left the hearing hall. In their remarks, Congressmen gave the impression that they cared for the people of Balochistan and were disturbed by human rights violations being committed by the Pakistan army in Balochistan. One analyst rightly observed that it was not only concern over human rights issues. Some Congressmen also proposed redrawing maps which were once drawn by the British but had eventually caused major wars in the world during the 20th century.
In spite of failed attempts by the government of Pakistan to hinder the debate on Balochistan, the US lawmakers did the right job by conveying to Islamabad, through Wednesday’s proceedings, that people’s right to self-determination and human rights cannot be overlooked by just describing them as one country’s “‘internal matter”. When states employ torture and abuse to their citizens then the international community does have an obligation to intervene in the greater interest of human lives. Many Americans who previously did not know much about Balochistan said they were startled about the tragedy of the Baloch region.