Pakistan

PM Nawaz Sharif heckled by protester in Washington with chants of ‘Free Balochistan’

WASHINGTON: Halfway through his speech, the Prime Minister was interrupted by a protester who chanted ‘Free Balochistan’ and called him a ‘friend of Bin Laden’.

The Prime Minister, on a bilateral visit to the United States (his second since assuming office) was addressing the US Institute of Peace, which is a prominent think-tank. During his speech, the Sharif was interrupted by a protester who shouted ‘Free Balochistan’ and called the PM ‘ a friend of Bin Laden’. The interruption caused Nawaz Sharif to halt his speech briefly as security removed the man from the venue, after which he resumed his speech.

The man was also carrying a poster which read ‘Free Balochistan’. Nawaz Sharif yesterday met United States President Barack Obama, in which the two held wide ranged talks and discussed Pakistan-US relations. Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz yesterday addressed a gathering at the White House hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also read: Michelle Obama announces funding of US$70 million for Pakistani women

Pakistan’s security forces have been embroiled in a conflict with insurgents and separatists in Balochistan. A wave of insurgency had begun and violence in the province had escalated after influential leader Akbar Bugti was killed in what was believed to be an encounter between his men and security forces.

Pakistan has often leveled allegations of India supporting terrorism in its south-western province of Balochistan, and also claims that it is winning the battle against separatists in the region.

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