Monday, June 10, 2013

US, UK support for Baloch leader shocks Pakistan, allies at UN

Murtaza Ali ShahMonday, June 10, 2013
From Print Edition

LONDON: Britain and America shocked Pakistan and its allies at the 23rd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s general debate in Geneva on 7 June when the two countries clearly supported nationalist leader Mehran Marri, Balochistan’s representative to the UN, who spoke against the recent elections and alleged that Pakistan was committing rights abuses in Balochistan.

Pakistan is likely to lodge protest with both the countries for taking a hostile position towards Pakistan by intervening on behalf of Mehran Marri who alleged that the recent elections exposed the “farce that the Pakistani establishment wanted to present as democracy”. The support by the two powerful countries to a Baloch separatist leader will give strength to the view of those who suspect that there are elements within the US and the UK who have sympathies for Baloch nationalist factions for their own regional and strategic objectives.

Marri, the youngest son of Karachi-based veteran leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, said that the Baloch didn’t take part in the election “charade” as participating the elections would have legitimised the “injustices against the Baloch people since 7th March 1948 when Pakistan forcibly annexed Balochistan”.

Mehran Marri told the session that one of the provincial assembly member was elected with 544 votes, on a 1.18 percent voters turnout. Pakistani delegate objected to the remarks made by Marri and said that Pakistan is fully conscious of its obligations to protects the human rights of its citizens.

“We cannot allow the use of this forum for statements which highly impinge upon the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the sovereign states as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We request you to expunge such remarks from the proceedings,” said the Pakistani delegate.

Both Cuba and China came to Pakistan’s defence and supported Pakistani delegate’s position. The Cuban representative told the session that it was unacceptable for an NGO to try to attack the territorial integrity and independence of a sovereign state. He said that his country was not prepared to listen to such remarks. The Chinese delegate stated that his country supported Pakistan and believed that this forum shouldn’t be used to “impinge upon the territorial integrity and freedom of a sovereign state”.

Both the US and the UK representatives took strong exception to the objections made during Mr Marri’s speech by Pakistan, Cuba and China and called on the session chair to allow Mehran Marri to complete his full statement. The UK delegate said that his country supported the position adopted by America on this matter and it was important that Mehran Marri made his full statement and that his remarks are not expunged.

Mehran Marri alleged in his speech that the establishment has intensified its “dirty war” and every day a few new “mutilated bodies or previously abducted bodies are dumped. He stressed that the “systematic and organised war against Balochistan should be of concern to the free world. Pakistan should not be allowed to carry on with brutalities and massacre in Balochistan. He alleged that Pakistan and China have formed a nexus to “exploit” the resources of Balochistan and both countries are using the province an “economic corridor”.

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