WASHINGTON: Three American lawmakers espousing the cause of the people of Balochistan on Tuesday alleged that the Pakistani government is a "radical Islamist" one and is providing weapons and resources to extremist groups.
Seeking independence of Balochistan, the three Congressmen led by Dana Rohrabacher at a news conference held at the National Press Club here claimed that Pakistan is not a friend of the United States, but an American enemy.
The two other Congressmen were Louie Gohmert and Steve King. The three have sponsored and co-sponsored a Congressional resolution in support of freedom of Balochistan.Rohrabacher said the Baloch, who were 'forcibly annexed' into Pakistan soon after independence in 1947, have a right to their own country. Rohrabacher, who said he was the "best friend of Pakistan" when he started his stint in the US Congress in 1988, did not know about the 'atrocities committed on the Baloch people.'
"I had no idea that the Pakistanis were personally into so much in promoting radical Islam and did not support the democratic principles that I thought bonded us during the Cold War," he said.
"The Government of Pakistan is radical Islam. It has been providing weapons and resources to radical Muslim elements who again use them against Americans. All these years we thought that Pakistan is our friend. We now find out that are really our enemy," Rohrabacher said, adding that now is the time for reassessment of America's position in South Asia, in particular its relationship with India.
Acknowledging that they haven't received much support of their point of view in the United States Congress and the stand of the Obama Administration is completely different from theirs, the three lawmakers conceded that this is the beginning of a long journey aimed to achieve the 'freedom for the Baloch people' and change the policies of the United States Government in this regard.
Identifying Pakistan as an enemy of the US, Gohmert said placating the enemy is not a god foreign policy. It turns out Pakistan is harbouring enemies of ours...our enemy is not their enemy... when you look at all these factors. Pakistan tried to help the Taliban...now they not only terrorising the Baloch people which they have done for decades, they are also terrorizing American soldiers who are just trying to keep peace in Afghanistan," "It's very clear that they (Baloch people) are an oppressed population just as the Kurds are an oppressed population and they have the right to have their own country and the United States should be on their side," Rohrabacher asserted.
"We can no longer lie to ourselves the horrible crime that is being committed in Pakistan against its own people including the Balochs. So we should reposition ourselves, have closer relationship with India considering that India is not been engaged in those type of activities," he said.
"We believe that the people of Balochistan have a right to self-determination. They have been oppressed ever since," Rohrabacher said.Responding to questions, Rohrabacher denied allegations that either he or his group of lawmakers who are supporting the cause of Balochistan - are receiving financial support from any some groups.
He said that his position on Kashmir hasn't changed, but decried those who try to divert the attention of the ground realities in Balochistan, by bringing in the Kashmir issue."I find it despicable that this tactics is being used let's not talk about Balochistan, let's talk about Kashmir?The reason it is being brought up now is in order to deflect public attention of the Pakistani government against the Baloch," Rohrabacher said.