New Delhi/Washington: After registering his protest on continuing human rights violation in Balochistan by way of heckling Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while the latter was addressing the US Institute of Peace, a prominent independent think-tank, in Washington, on Friday, Ahmer Musti Khan, a Baloch activist and journalist, spoke exclusively to ANI on the reasons for doing it.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q1. Since you interrupted the speech of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the US Institute of Peace (USIP), what impact will it make on the international community?
A. I have been deluded by messages of appreciation from Balochistan, Afghanistan, Gulf nations, and of course India. Since the U.S. capital is one place from where many good and evil things happen, I am sure my heckling of Sharif’s speech will make a difference in the days ahead. Just as I know the sun will rise tomorrow, I know Balochistan will be free. I have been seeing this dream of a free Balochistan since I was 14-years-old. I am celebrating my 56th birthday today in Washington D.C., so, 42 years have passed, but my dream is alive due mainly to the heroic sacrifices of thousands of Baloch people. The international community will and must take note.
Q2. What really happened when the police detained you during Prime Minister Sharif’s speech? Will you be slapped with criminal charges?
A. Police did not detain me. The private security of the USIP removed me from the hall, though, I was leaving on my own after making my point. I literally scolded the security director of the USIP that the fundamental right to the freedom of expression cannot be denied to anyone in the United States. The official Secret Service did interview me. I told them that Pakistan receives U.S. dollars, but is an avowed enemy of the United States. That was it. As much as I know, the U.S. is sympathetic to the Baloch cause. Maybe it is because it understands Pakistan wants to work with China in Balochistan, which hurts vital interests of the United States. Unfortunately, some arms manufacturers in the United States have a lot of clout on Capitol Hill. That is the main problem.
Q3. Pakistan media has totally blacked out the incident and the report about the raising of the Balochistan issue at Prime Minister Sharif’s event in U.S.? Do you believe that Pakistani media is being controlled by the agencies?
A. Pakistan media thinks if it does not report a reality, the truth will die. The censoring of the heckling story, which by all definition of news was a major international story, clearly shows that Pakistan media is hands in gloves with the intelligence services of that country. As I have been a journalist myself and a member of an old Baloch family, I know quite well media houses cannot challenge the military narrative on Balochistan.
Q4. Will you continue to raise the issue of Balochistan as aggressively as you have been doing so far? Will the U.S. impose some restrictions on your activities?
A. We have a changed United States since the 9/11 attacks and bin Laden’s discovery with his three wives next door to the Pakistan Military Academy. I am an American citizen. No one, not even God, can restrict my activities on U.S. soil.
Q5. You also protested outside the White House a day before interrupting Prime Minister’s Sharif’s speech? Please elaborate on the protest?
A.The protest at the White House when President Obama was doing the talking and Sharif was doing the listening was meant to highlight Pakistan’s genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Balochistan. The slogan raised there was “Pakistan is Taliban; Taliban is Pakistan.” I did use a bull horn (loudspeaker) to tell the audience which included many Americans that Pakistan is friend of China and an enemy of the United States. Many Americans have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan due to the ISI machinations. I must assure you our Baloch people are so confident of victory, that they believe that once the U.S. stops supporting Pakistan, we can force them out of Balochistan. At the same time, as a rising power in the world, India must openly support a free Balochistan, not in the interests of the Baloch people, but in the interests of 1.4 billion Indians. We have expectations of the Modi administration having a solid policy of support for Balochistan.
On Friday, Mustikhan was protesting against Islamabad’s inability to rein in the Pakistani Army, which has allegedly been engaged in acts of torture and killing of Baloch who are demanding freedom. He st also called Sharif a ‘friend of Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden’.
“I hope my small minute contribution will reach the ears of thousands of Baloch martyr families. My voice was also meant to expose Pakistan terror in Afghanistan and war crimes in Balochistan,” Mustikhan told ANI.