Stories about Balochistan

It’s useless to study in the US, stay in Pakistan!

The education system in the US is, undoubtedly, no match to that of Pakistan. There is a major difference in the quality of education between the two nations. A majority of youngsters living in Pakistan are encouraged to pursue their studies from abroad as the standard of education in Pakistan is awfully low. There are, however, quite a few individuals who believe that receiving education from a country such as the US is of no use. This is a common misconception, possibly stemming from the anti-US sentiment in the country. I, however, do not agree as I believe that there are a number ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

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Karachi embraced Ibtihaj with love and support but will you do the same, Bilawal Bhutto?

On the morning of January 27, 2014, I was looking up air tickets to fly to Quetta to meet the victims of the Mastung blast. None of my friends or family members were excited about this proposition. Much to their relief, eight of the victims were shifted to the Agha Khan Univeristy Hospital (AKUH) at Karachi the same afternoon. I met 11-year-old Ibtihaj along with a few of my friends that same evening. He was a little overwhelmed, being suddenly surrounded by so many strange faces. A large number of the visitors were of the Hazara community members based in Karachi. Later that day, ...

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If you are reading this, you are part of the 0.1% elect few

Greetings! If you are reading this blog, you are a part of the ‘elect’, the fortunate ones in this great country of un-equals. Let me tell you something more about yourself. You are able to read in English and hold a conversation in the language and this very ability makes you one of the privileged ones: out of a population of nearly 200 million, only six million Pakistanis are able to afford a daily newspaper and out of this tiny number, a further 60,000 happen to read the English ones. A strong correlative factor determining your present status is that you went to a good private school ...

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My name is Mastung and I am innocent…

Perhaps you have heard about me in the news… My name is Mastung. I am situated at the bottom of the Lak Pass tunnel and one must pass through a mountain hole in order to get to me. And hence, my residents named me Mastung because in the Brahvi language, ‘Mash’ means ‘mountain’ and ‘Tung’ means ‘hole’.  Once you cross the Lak Pass tunnel, I welcome you with apple farms. A cool breeze awash with apple fragrance refreshes your soul as you enter. These apples are sold in markets across the country. What?  You say you have not heard of me? If you stop your car at a ...

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My friend was killed in the Quetta blasts last year…I still await justice

January 10, 2014 marked the first anniversary of the Alamdar Road blast in Quetta, where over 100 people were killed and more than 169 injured in a twin blast. The explosion took place near a snooker club where a suicide bomber detonated the bomb at approximately 8:50pm in the evening. When the first blast took place, a large group of people reached the area in order to rescue and help the victims. However, after about 10 minutes, another blast took place at the same location – this time it was a bomb which was remote detonated in a car nearby. The second blast ...

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Lest we forget: Remembering the victims of the 2013 Hazara massacre

When Aslam Raisani, the then chief minister of Balochistan, was asked about the Mastung massacre in September 2011, he replied, “The population of Balochistan is in millions, 40 dead in Mastung is no big deal.” When asked about what he would do for the grieving families of the victims, he replied, “I can send a truckload of tissue papers for them to wipe away their tears.” Horrific as this may sound, the Mastung massacre was not the bloodiest day in the long history of Shia killings in the Hazara community. That ‘honour’ goes to the massacre on January 10, 2013 in Quetta where over 100 people were killed ...

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My lover, her father and the ‘honour’ that tore us apart

Our ordeal had begun. She said to me, “What if something goes wrong? We will be doomed, my whole life will be ruined and they might even kill me.” Although I was scared, I responded in a brave voice, “Don’t be scared, just have faith and everything will be alright.” We were stuck in the midst of a battle to reclaim our lives and live it according to our aspirations and desires. The only other option we had was to abandon our hopes in the name of chauvinistic traditions, where women were the sole victims of culture and tradition. Her destiny had been sealed by her ...

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Wildlife: Cherished in Kenya, butchered in Pakistan?

Wildlife refers to plants and animals that have not been domesticated and exist in their natural environment. Hence, it is a national heritage and should therefore be preserved for future generations. Wildlife also opens employment opportunities for many including in the fields of security, game reserves and lodges. In addition, some plant species are used for medicinal purposes and also provide researchers with valuable information regarding nature. As a nature lover, I recently availed the opportunity to visit the National Park of Kenya. It would be a gross understatement to say that it was a spectacular experience! Unfortunately, it was also ...

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Crystal clear water, clean air and hospitality: This is the Makran Coastal Highway

Pakistan has always been hailed as a paradise for adventurous souls. From the valleys and mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the deserts and beaches of Balochistan, we have some of the most unique combinations of natural beauty in the world. Yet, the more I travel across different regions of this beautiful country, the more I realise how little I, like many of us living in the cities, know about the gorgeous scenery and breathtaking views that exist all around us, just waiting to be explored. This realisation hit me again on my recent trip to the Makran Coastal Highway and ...

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