WASHINGTON - A protester disrupted a speech by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a Washington think tank on Friday, shouting slogans in support of freedom for Balochistan.

A man in the audience at the US Institute of Peace stood up and shouted "Free, Free Balochistan!" and accused the 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.

Rebels have been waging a low-intensity insurgency in Balochistan 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.