Balochistan: Pak summons US envoy; lodges protest

Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 19:20

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Ministry on Monday
summoned the acting American envoy and lodged a "strong
protest" over the tabling of a resolution in the US Congress
seeking the right to self-determination for the Baloch people,
which has emerged as the latest irritant in bilateral ties.

Richard Hoagland, the US Charge d` Affaires, was called to
the Foreign Ministry and a "strong protest was lodged with him
with regard to the tabling of a resolution on Balochistan in
the US Congress", said a statement from the Foreign Office.

Hoagland was "told in clear terms that the move in the US
Congress was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations and
violative of the principles of the United Nations Charter,
international law and recognized norms of inter-state
conduct", the statement said.

"He was asked to convey the serious concern of the
Government of Pakistan to the US Administration," it added.
Over the weekend, Pakistan`s top leadership reacted
angrily to the resolution moved in the US House of
Representatives by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, with Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani describing the move as an attack
on the country`s sovereignty.

"We condemn it as it is against our sovereignty," Gilani
said.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar too 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 against the "very fundamentals of the
longstanding Pakistan-US relations".

Pakistan`s National Assembly or lower house of parliament
has already adopted a resolution condemning a recent hearing
on Balochistan by the US Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on
Oversight and Investigations.

Hoagland told state-run PTV yesterday that the US
administration fully respects Pakistan`s sovereignty and
territorial integrity.

He said the US administration did not endorse the
resolution on Balochistan.

US Congressmen or Senators have the right to introduce any
kind of resolutions or bills "but that does not represent the
policy of the US Administration", he said.

He said that the Congressman who moved the resolution in
the US Congress could get support of only two of the 435
members of the House.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 19:20

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