U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Demands Referendum In Balochistan On The Question Of Independence

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) convened an international conference at The Royal Society, London on Sunday 24 February 2013 entitled ‘Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan?’.

PRESS RELEASE

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Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia:

What Future for Balochistan?

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Demands Referendum
in Balochistan on the Question of Independence

Brussels, 25 February 2013 – In an effort to shed light on the key role Balochistan plays in South Asia, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)convened a conference entitled “Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan”, which took place at The Royal Society, London on 24 February 2013. Key speaker at this conference, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, gave a poignant speech urging for the freedom of the Baloch people. The Congressman requested a referendum to be held in Balochistan on the question of independence, which would challenge the claims by Islamabad that the Baloch want to be part of Pakistan. Dana Rohrabacher called for Pakistani officials to be tried for war crimes. Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) was also present.

Rohrabacher addresses the assembly

Congressman Dana Rorhabacher addresses the assembly

The conference was opened by Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO, and Paulo Casaca, former MEP and Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum, who denounced above all the Pakistani government’s use of a ferocious ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan. The first panel, chaired by Noordin Mengal, discussed Balochistan’s role in the world power game. Athar Hussain, Director of the Asia Research Centre at LSE, Dr. Naseer Dashti, Baloch writer, and Mohammad Ali Talpur, columnist at the Daily Times, addressed issues such as Pakistan’s inability as a state to protect its citizen and the brutality with which it has addressed tensions with Balochistan. The second panel brought together Burzine Waghmar from the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS, journalist Anna Reitman, Nasser Boladai, President of the Baluchistan People’s Party, and Hammal Haider Baloch, spokesperson of the Baloch National Movement. This panel addressed the talibanization of Balochistan, the rise of islamic radicalism in South Asia, security in Iranian Balochistan, the key role energy and mining resources play in Balochistan, and the influence of Iran, Pakistan, India and China in the region.

Nasser Boladai speaks

Nasser Boladai, Andrew Swan (UNPO), Burzine Waghmar, Anna Reitman

The third panel concentrated on Balochistan’s future and the different ways forward, a subject strongly backed by U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The Congressman stated that Pakistan is not a friend of the United States and of those who believe in peace, prosperity and freedom for the people of the world. His Royal Highness, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud called for a united Baloch front in the struggle against the horrors imposed on the Baloch people by Islamabad. Tarek Fatah gave a vigorous speech, pointing at the curse of colonialism and the lack of international support to Balochistan, while Pakistan keeps on betraying its international allies. Prof Joshua Castellino of Middlesex University, spoke about the right to self determination of peoples, and Abubakar Siddique of RFE/RL, addressed issues of enforced disappearances and human rights in Balochistan.

The Assembly

Guests at The Royal Society

Second from left, HRH Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud, Congressman Brian Higgins in the middle, and far right, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

HRH the Khan of Kalat delivers his speech as the Congressman looks on

The conference was concluded by Peter Tatchell, political activist and spokesperson for human rights of the Green Party (U.K.), who outlined his proposals for a way forward for Balochistan, stressing on the importance of forming a united Baloch front capable of convincing the international community. Noordin Mengal concluded the conference by stating that a sovereign state of Balochistan would not only benefit the Baloch people, but the entire region. This day-long conference produced the “Conference Declaration on the Restoration of the Rights of the Baloch People in light of Regional and Global Security”.

Peter Tatchell at the lectern

For media queries please contact:

Maud Vanwalleghem | +32 251 314 59 | [email protected]

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