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APAC

Protester disrupts Pakistan prime minister's speech in Washington

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A protester disrupted a speech by Pakistan’s President Nawaz Sharif at a Washington think tank on Friday, shouting slogans in support of freedom for the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

A man in the audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace stood up and shouted “Free, Free Baluchistan!” and accused the Pakistani prime minister of being “friends” with late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, just as Sharif was starting a speech.

Sharif looked up and paused briefly as the man was led away, but did not comment on the interruption.

Separatists have been waging a low-intensity insurgency in poverty-racked Baluchistan for decades, demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their gas and mineral resources by people from richer, more powerful parts of Pakistan.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Idress Ali; Editing by Susan Heavey

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