PM decries US bill on Balochistan
KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday took exception to two pronouncements made in the United States on Pakistan this week — the bill tabled in the House espousing self-determination for Balochistan and the statement warning Islamabad against going ahead with the Iran gas pipeline project.
The prime minister said he was dismayed to learn about the bill since it constituted challenging Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Republican Dana Rohrabacher moved the bill in the House of Representatives on Friday. An excerpt from the draft resolution read: “The Baloch people have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”
About the gas pipeline, Mr Gilani said no pressure would be acceptable from the US and “we will definitely go ahead with the project”. He was speaking to media after a ground-breaking ceremony of a project for upgradation of six berths at the Karachi Port.
The prime minister parried queries about his trial for contempt of court, saying the matter was sub judice. “Since the case is still being heard in the Supreme Court, I cannot speak on it.”
People need not worry and let the Supreme Court decide about his fate, Mr Gilani remarked.
The premier seemed perturbed on being asked to clarify Pakistan’s position on restoration of US and Nato supplies. “If we can take extreme measures like stopping Nato supplies and declining to attend a conference (in Bonn) on Afghanistan, we can take any action and decision in the national interest,” he retorted.
However, when a questioner pointed out that Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar had recently told media that Nato supplies had been restored, Yousuf Raza Gilani asked him to put the question to the minister.
Referring to the summit with Afghanistan and Iran, he said Islamabad was committed to good relations with all neighbouring countries.
Minister: The foreign minister termed the bill in the US House of Representatives an isolated move by a few individuals, agencies add.
She recalled that the National Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution condemning a recent open hearing on Balochistan by the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations.
Hina Rabbani Khar said the National Assembly resolution had represented the legitimate reaction of the people of Pakistan.
“An unfriendly and irresponsible attempt by a few individuals in Washington is aimed at creating distrust between the people of the two countries,” she observed.
She expressed the hope that the bill would not sail through the House as “a vast majority of US Congressmen cherish friendly relations with Pakistan”.