Baloch protest to draw international attention, says expert

Washington D.C.: Commenting on interruption of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech in Washington D.C. by Baloch activist, noted security and strategic affairs expert Uday Bhaskar on Friday said the incident would draw international attention to an issue that Pakistan had been trying to suppress.

“Today’s incident will draw international communities’ attention, which from the Pakistani perspective is undesirable. But, clearly now, the Baloch story has become too big for Pakistan to prevent it from coming out on to the international arena,” he said, as Baloch activists, who interrupted the Prime Minister’s speech at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), chanted “anti-Pakistan” and “free Balochistan” slogans.

“There is another element of discomfiture for Prime Minister Sharif – China that has announced very ambitious ‘one road-one belt’ initiative in this the province of Balochista and the port of Gwadar, which have very important geographic relevance – if Balochistan is not stable, the Chinese investment is unlikely to materialise,” he said.

“If you saw today’s protest at USIP, the placards were saying China and Pakistan go back, it means they even want the Chinese to go back. It will pose a very serious problem for Prime Minister Sharif,” he added.

“The Baloch agitation is not new; at one time, both Baluchistan and Sindh have been part of the movement of oppressed nations. In Pakistan, they have been trying to petition the UN among other international bodies, but the Pakistan Government has not allowed the story to go out,” he said

“Even now, since the killing of Nawab Bugati in 2006, for over nine years, the Pakistani security forces have dealt with the region in exceedingly brutal and violent manners and there have been series of people either been killed or families have gone missing. The Bloch citizens of Pakistan have even tried to petition the Supreme Court with limited success,” he said.

“Free Balochistan” and “You are Bin Laden’s friend” slogan chanted from audience during Prime Minister Sharif’s address at USIP,” a commentator tweeted quoting the Baloch activist on USIP’s page.

“Someone from the crowd yelled, ‘Stop War Crimes in Balochistan’; and ‘You are bin Laden friend’,” said another tweet.

In yet another tweet a commentator said, “PM Sharif paints a pic of Pakistan that’s free of terrorism, economically prospering and celebrates gender equality #”.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear power, should be a part of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“I have made sincere efforts to improve relations with India,” said Nawaz Sharif at USIP. (ANI)