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The Sunni Ittehad Council protest, organised with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, focused on
denouncing the US since its House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs
convened a congressional hearing on Balochistan and a lawmaker introduced a resolution
asking Pakistan to recognise Balochistan’s right to self- determination.
Speakers at the protest also criticised the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, dubbing its members
“American, Indian and Israeli agents” who had never supported the ideology of Pakistan.
The Jamaat-e-Islami put up a ‘solidarity camp’, which was attended by its Karachi chief
Mohammad Hussain Mehanti and regional leaders. Speakers reiterated criticism of the US
but added on that the government had not paid attention to the crisis in Balochistan.
Ignored among these were those who have been sitting outside the press club for months,
the Voice of the Missing Baloch People group, that sat next to JI’s camp in a tent of their
own. Activist Qadeer Baloch, who heads the group, pleaded for people to stop describing the
Baloch as upset (naraaz). “It is not like this is a fight between a woman and her daughter-in-
law,” he said. “We are not naraaz; we are people who want freedom.”
Nasir Kareem Baloch was amused at the number of protesters who had all spoken on
Balochistan. Referring to the JuD protest, he said, “They said whoever is America’s friend is
a traitor. But America’s biggest friend is the Pakistan Army, Saudi Arabia and all these
Muslim countries. Why do they fill our ears with [all] this?” Several political party leaders
have stopped by this camp to express ‘solidarity’ with the Baloch, but that is the extent of
their support.
While religio-political parties, including the JI, decried what they called US “interference”,
these activists do not believe that this is the reality, nor do they feel that the oft-repeated
accusation by the government – that there are “foreign hands” involved in Balochistan – has
been bolstered by the US lawmaker’s move. “It is just supporting our stance. We hope that
other countries, even communist countries like China and Russia, will support us,” Nasir
Kareem said. “They also say that the ‘sardars’ are supporting us, but only two of them are,
the rest are puppets of the government.” “We were dying before, and we are still dying,” he
said, as he pointed out a poster hanging at the camp, with photos of the Baloch men who are
said to have been killed by the intelligence agencies. “They were political activists. They said
the same thing we do, but no one could hear it in the mountains.”

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