WASHINGTON – Secular and progressive values of the Baloch people in southwest Asia are under extreme threats but the US government has done nothing to stem the tide of religious extremism among at least 25 million Baloch people of Balochistan.
But one congressman, who has been a solid friend of Balochistan for more than four years now has called upon the US administration to launch Voice of America services in Balochi language to counter the extremist narratives.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, called on the overseer of the Voice of America to initiate native-language broadcasting to the Baloch people living in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The Baloch people occupy homelands that stretch across the borders of the three countries and their “secular, tolerant and liberal tradition is now in danger” of being deprived of access to independent media, said the congressman.
Rohrabacher was of the view that the three dominant states, he said, are attempting to create a “single-state identity” – Persian, Punjab, and Pashtun – and impose the values of their respective religious sects. Though Rohrabacher hinted at Afghanistan, in additionto the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Iran, many Baloch feel at home in Afghanistan and have enjoyed good relations with Afghans.
In a letter to John Lansing, chief executive officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Rohrabacher said, “[N]ative language broadcasting could help to provide Baloch with non-biased news and liberal and democratic values. It would also help to preserve Baloch people language and its secular culture.”