Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was heckled on by a protester on Friday demanding freedom for Balochistan, Express News reported.
As PM Nawaz began delivering his address at the US Institute of Peace, a protester chanted, “Free Balochistan” and called the premier a “friend of [Osama] bin Laden”.
The man, identified as Ahmar Musti Khan of the Free Balochistan Campaign USA, was also holding a poster that read “Free Balochistan”, according to The Financial Express.
Soon after the incident which forced the premier to briefly pause his speech, security forces accompanied the protester out of the auditorium.
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PM Nawaz is currently on his second bilateral visit to the US. The premier met US President Barack Obama on Thursday who appreciated Pakistan’s on-going efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, noting that it had disrupted terror plots against the US homeland as the two sides renewed their resolve to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism in the region.
Pakistan disrupted terror plots against US, says Obama
In August this year, in a first, a self-exiled Baloch separatist leader warmed up to the dialogue option to resolve the Balochistan conundrum, saying that he is willing to withdraw his demand for an independent Balochistan state, if the Baloch people desire so.
In the past, Brahumdagh Bugti, the chief of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) and grandson of slain Jamhoori Watan Party leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, had repeatedly rejected dialogue offers and insisted on armed struggle for an independent Balochistan. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Brahumdagh, who had fled Pakistan following the killing of his grandfather, claimed that the security establishment had to review its strategy on the Balochistan issue as “it has accepted that it could be resolved only through peace negotiations”.
Warming up: Brahumdagh Bugti amenable to dialogue
Brahumdagh – who is seeking political asylum in Switzerland – said 10-15 years of violence in Balochistan has not solved the problem. He was referring to a low-key insurgency in the province which had started in 2004 and intensified in 2006 after the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in Kohlu. Asked what would be his response if the establishment set the precondition of giving up his demand for an independent Balochistan, Brahumdagh said, “If the majority of our friends, comrades, political allies and people of Balochistan desire this then we are ready to stay with Pakistan.”