The Honorable Congressman Dana Rohrabacher July 23, 2018
The United States Congress
Re: A Baluch-Program by VOA
Dear Honorable Congressman Rohrabacher:
I have the honor to present this letter to thank you for your championship of liberty and to ask for your support for a Baluch-language program by VOA. Such a program will: definitely attract millions of Baluch viewers; improve the US image among Baluch by promoting American values such as democracy, rule of law, and human rights; counter the hateful propaganda of religious extremists in Baluchistan; counter the ongoing campaign by Iran and Pakistan (the main sources of Shiite and Sunni terrorism respectively) to Talibanize the Baluch population; and serve the overall US strategic interests in the region. In addition, VOA already broadcasts in all other languages spoken in Iran (Persian, Kurdish, Azari, Arabic). Therefore, a Baluchi program will also fill a very important gap in VOA coverage.
The importance of a VOA Baluchi program becomes more apparent when placed in the context of the US strategic interests in Asia. Baluchistan is already a focal point of geo-political rivalry between the US and China and between India and China in Asia. For example, under CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) China is investing $56 billion to connect Western China to Gwadar Port in Baluchistan via a network of roads, railways and pipeline. India is countering China by developing Chabahar Port in Iranian Baluchistan and connecting it to Central Asia. (https://lobelog.com/rivalry-at-irans-chabahar-port/). Therefore, a VOA Baluchi program can play a crucial role in attracting the Baluch population to the US side in this New Great Game in Asia. (https://www.demrawan.com/single-post/2016/09/05/India-Iran-Chabahar-Agreement-The-Geopolitics-of-Baluchistan-Regional-and-International-Implications).
A Baluch-language program will definitely attract millions of new viewers to VOA. The total Baluch population is estimated to be around 30 million. Only the population of Iranian Baluchistan is 6.5 million, according to the 2016 official census data released by the Iranian Government. Baluchi broadcasts by VOA will attract not only the Iranian Baluch, but also the larger Baluch population living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Gulf Arab states. Therefore, with Baluchi broadcasts, VOA has the potential to gain 10 to 20 million new viewers among the Baluch.
In short, a Baluch program will attract millions of new viewers to VOA, serves the US interests, and will be highly timely given the worsening situation in Iran.
Dr. M. Hosseinbor