Call to revive USAID for Baluchistan


WASHINGTON DC, July 24, 2008: (Shehmir Gorgei reports) Two U.S.-based Baluch organizations have jointly called for revival of the bUSAID program for Baluchistan, coupled with stopping of all military aid to Pakistan until it hands over terrorists be

According to the prestigious Virginia-based, the Pakistan Army has a total strength of 520,000, larger than that of the United States, with a reserve element of 500,000. Ahmar Mustikhan, founder of the American Friends of Baluchistan, and Dr. Wahid Baloch, president of the Baloch Society of North America, Thursday wrote to U.S. Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Richard Lugar (R-Ind), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) about their concerns over military aid to Pakistan as it continues to shield terrorists, including the one-eyed former Taliban ruler, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Biden and Lugar recently introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to end blank checks for the Pakistan army. Since 9/11, as much as $5.6 billion of U.S. taxpayers monies were given in cash to Pakistan army generals in a slush fund called Coalition Support Fund, without a proper congressional oversight. Mustikhan and Baloch said disbursement of the U.S. Agency for International Development funds must be done on the basis of area rather than population as "Pakistan has practiced state slavery of the Baluch people because of which Baluchistan today has the highest infant mortality rate anywhere in the world." They demanded distribution of the funds in Baluchistan directly through USAID and honest and competent Baluch managers as they said they lacked faith in Punjabi and Urdu speaking Pakistanis. In the mid-1980s, a USAID program enabled hundreds of Baluch youth to come for studies to the U.S., but the program was shelved immediately after the demise of communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. A copy of the letter was also sent to Ms. Henrietta Holsman Fore, chief of USAID. Following is the full text of the letter: We are highly appreciative of the recent bill by the honorable Senators Biden and Lugar to push for bipartisan legislation this year that would triple humanitarian spending in Pakistan, but most hopefully cut military aid to Pakistan. The state of Pakistan is the world's most dangerous entity today and U.S. taxpayers monies should under no circumstances be misspent on strengthening the Pakistan army. As we write these lines to you Pakistan army is using U.S. weapons, including Cobra helicopters, against secular Baluch forces in the Dera Bugti area of the area-wise largest state of Baluchistan. In the last four days alone as many as 70 citizens, mostly women,bchildren and the elderly have been killed by the Pakistan army out of frustration. Pakistan's policy of killing secular Baluch forces can create a void that will be filled by none other but Taliban-like forces. We urge you to have the genocide of the Baluch people stopped immediately. It is a shame that in the estimation of Pakistan army generals, former governor and chief minister of Baluchistan Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and twice-premier Benazir Bhutto are "security threats," that have to be eliminated, but the likes of Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zwahiri, A.Q. Khan and Daud Ebrahim are "national assets," that have to be protected. The State Department certification that Pakistan makes "concerted efforts" to go after al-Qaida and Taliban forces will only make sense when Pakistan hands over terrorists like one-eyed Mullah Omar, who is being sheltered at a Punjabi-Mohajir dominated army complex in Quetta. Clearly Pakistan army is shielding terrorists and we urge the U.S. lawmakers not to close their eyes to the dangers emanating from that country to U.S. citizens. As such, there should be absolutely no military aid to Pakistan until these dangerous terrorists are arrested by Pakistan. We also highly appreciate the efforts made by the Department of State and USAID towards drafting the bill, but more conditions need to be put into the bill in the interests of world security. Any new aid to Pakistan must be made conditional to Islamabad respecting the right of self determination for the Baluch people and conducting a referendum in Baluchistan about their future. We can assure you in advance 99 percent of the Baluch populace will opt for freedom. You might be knowing the Baluch people have demanded international help from the world community at a historic and representative jirga held at the Shahi Palace in Kalat, under the leadership of the Khan of Kalat, Suleman Daud Ahmedzai, in the fall of 2006. For security reasons, the Khan of Kalat has now sought asylum in the U.K. He is spearheading the legal battle against Pakistan's forced occupation of Baluchistan 60 years ago in March 1948. The Baluch also feel revolted over the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline and your bill must demand from Pakistan scrapping of the pipeline project. At the same time in the interests of fairness, the proposed $7.5 billion in aid must be distributed on the basis of area, not population. Pakistan has practiced state-sponsored slavery of the Baluch people because of which Baluchistan today has the highest infant mortality rate anywhere in the world. The distribution of the funds in Baluchistan must be done directly by USAID through competent Baluch managers as we have no faith in Punjabi and Urdu speaking Pakistanis. We also urge you to revive the USAID project, specifically for the ethnic Baluch people. The time to send sharp messages to Pakistan has long lapsed and now is the time for concrete action, their statement concluded.

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