US opposes independent Balochistan

Published February 13, 2014
On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement, making it clear that “the United States respects the territorial integrity of Pakistan. — File Photo
On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement, making it clear that “the United States respects the territorial integrity of Pakistan. — File Photo

WASHINGTON: The United States has made it clear that it does not support the idea of an independent Balochistan and respects Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

The question of the alleged US involvement was raised at the State Department briefing on Tuesday afternoon where spokesperson Jen Psaki said she had seen media reports suggesting that “we had been engaged with Balochistan” and promised to release an official statement on the issue.

On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement, making it clear that “the United States respects the territorial integrity of Pakistan. It is not the policy of the administration to support independence for Balochistan.”

The question raised at the briefing also referred to a recent statement by a Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert, suggesting that the United States should help Balochistan become a separate state.

“We are aware of Representative Gohmert’s comments. Members of Congress express a wide range of views. Such comments do not in any way imply US government endorsement,” said the State Department while distancing itself from Mr Gohmert’s position on the issue.

In a recent interview, Mr Gohmert suggested that to resolve the Afghanistan crisis, it’s better to have a separate Balochistan carved out of Pakistan.

Mr Gohmert’s statement followed President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last month, emphasising the need for US disengagement from Afghanistan.

The Republican Congressman interpreted the speech as an admission of defeat in Afghanistan and proposed a two-point formula for turning this possible defeat into victory: supply more arms to the Northern Alliance and a new state within the borders of Pakistan.

“Let’s talk about creating a Balochistan in the southern part of Pakistan,” Mr Gohmert told The Huffington Post. “They love us. They’ll stop the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and all the weaponry coming into Afghanistan, and we got a shot to win over there.”

The White House did not respond to requests for comments on Mr Gohmert’s statement.

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