The Balochistan spin
After they were done yelling at some Pakistani journalists who, expectedly, had some harsh questions, the lawmakers relaxed. It was time to pump flesh.
Two US lawmakers had just wrapped up a news conference called to highlight the plight of the people of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
From the turnout, it looked like the most important event in Washington DC that day and that time. There were people standing in the back of a packed room.
After the usual speeches and questions, I asked the lawmakers: Which of the following came first: the realization that Pakistan had been a bad ally or that the Baluch people needed help.
This was not a question they had rehearsed or expected. But the answers, uncannily, were the same: first came the realization that Pakistan has been a bad ally, followed by Balochistan.
In fact, one of the lawmakers said he was the best friend Pakistan had in this town. And he had a number of US House resolutions on Kashmir to prove that.
Then came the disappointment — Osama bin Laden found living in a Pakistani cantonment town. That really blew me, he said.
Feeling betrayed and angry, the congressman looked around for ways to hurt Pakistan. And, he said this, he found Baluchistan. I said to myself: now this doesn’t too good.
What if Pakistan were to start behaving the good ally the US wants it to be, as a reporter asked the lawmakers.
Will they stop supporting the Baloch people and their movement?
Their support for the Baloch cause was not as much about the Baloch as it was about punishing Pakistan for being a bad ally. Do the Baloch deserve this?
I haven’t had the chance to take this up with Bloch activists here. But I can see from their perspective that even if the lawmakers were in it for the wrong reasons, their support was bringing the cause lots of attention.