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Furious Pakistan slams Balochistan resolution in US Congress

February 18, 2012 19:33 IST

Pakistan's top leadership reacted angrily on Saturday to a resolution introduced in the United States Congress seeking the right to self-determination for Baloch people, with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani describing the move as an attack on the country's sovereignty.

Gilani condemned the resolution moved in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function, he said, "We condemn it as it is against our sovereignty".

In a statement, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar took strong exception to the resolution on Balochistan, which has witnessed a spike in violence by nationalist groups that are seeking greater autonomy and a say in the exploitation of the southwestern province's abundant natural resources, including minerals and gas.

Khar said though the resolution was an isolated move by a few individuals, it "was contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law".

The resolution was also against the "very fundamentals of the longstanding Pakistan-US relations", she said.

She pointed out that Pakistan's National Assembly or lower house of parliament had unanimously adopted a resolution condemning a recent hearing on Balochistan by the US Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations.

The National Assembly resolution had "clearly represented the legitimate reaction of the people of Pakistan," she said.

Khar described Rohrabacher's resolution as "an unfriendly and irresponsible attempt by a few individuals in Washington" to create distrust between the people of the US and Pakistan. Khar said she hoped this "tendentious move" would not be allowed to get through the US House of Representatives by a vast majority of Congressmen who continued to support friendly relations between the two countries.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan described the resolution as part of a "dirty conspiracy".

She told reporters that Islamabad had been expecting such moves after hosting a trilateral summit with Afghanistan and Iran.

In a separate statement, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Rohrabacher's resolution on Balochistan was "a highly irresponsible move and sheer violation of international laws".

"The resolution was based on poor information and ignorance," he said.

Rohrabacher's motion, which was co-sponsored by Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Steve King, highlighted Balochistan's troubled relations with the federal government after the creation of Pakistan.

It said "revolts" in the province in 1958, 1973 and 2005 "indicate continued popular discontent against Islamabad's rule, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while the province remains the poorest in the country".

The resolution further said that the people of Balochistan "have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country".

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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