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Top US delegation meets exiled Baloch leaders

By Murtaza Ali Shah

For full story and links, visit The News: Top US delegation meets exiled Baloch leaders

LONDON: A delegation of the US Congressmen accompanied by top official from the US State Department met two exiled Baloch leaders and assured them of the open and clandestine help in their activities in Balochistan and abroad. Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Khan Dawood and Hyrbyair Marri held talks with a delegation of US congressmen at a central London location.

Sources have told The News that officials linked with America’s State Department were also present in the meeting where the situation in Balochistan was extensively discussed and the two asked the US officials to step up support for their efforts.

US Rep. Steve King, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher were confirmed present in the meeting but a source said that two other senators were also part of the meeting. Some of these representatives have been meeting the Baloch exiled leaders for many months now but the presence of some US government officials have provoked interest in this meeting. The meeting will be viewed with interest in Pakistan where a great level of suspicion at the official level exists that elements of the US establishment are deeply involved in Balochistan and have been helping some armed Baloch groups, directly and indirectly.

Rep. Louie Gohmert told the Baloch nationalist leaders that he would do his best to highlight their movement. For several years, Hyrbyair Marri and Khan of Kalat have been living in exile in London. Both have been given asylum status by the British government. Mehran Marri, Khair Bux Marri’s youngest son and Balochistan’s unofficial representative at the United Nation Human Rights Council, has also held several meetings in recent days with ambassadors of European countries in Geneva. A source told that a delegation of the US administration met Marri in Brussels a few days ago.

Mehran Marri and Brahumdagh Bugti, who have been given asylum by the Swiss government, work closely at the European level US Representatives have assured the Baloch leaders that they would continue to work on their behalf to speak against Pakistan. The issue of the discovery of the alleged mass graves in Balochistan was also discussed in the London meeting. Some US congressmen have been showing increasing interest in Balochistan in recent months and have taken it upon themselves to talk about the issue.

Balochistan and human rights officials say several bodies have been uncovered recently in Balochistan but Pakistani officials put the number at just over a dozen and its hoped that a judicial inquiry would be held into these allegations. Although US politicians and the government figures deny supporting the Baloch nationalist political movement or the armed insurgency but such meetings will only strengthen the view of those in Pakistan who believe that the US continues to grow interest in the resource rich province, which is also of huge strategic importance in the region.

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