Stories about Balochistan

Pakistan should learn lessons from China and avoid conflict with India

From the very beginning, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been security-centred, but the recent announcement of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) shows that Pakistan has pulled its strings closer in line with the global norms in order to benefit and cooperate with one of the emerging economies of the world. In times of relative stability, public policies, and systems of behaviour, democratic societies tend to flow in accordance with the dominant paradigm. With the evolutionary emergence of the liberal capitalist order, sustainable economic development is considered to be the most dominant paradigm which relates comprehensive national power to economic development since, the national interests of ...

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Balochistan 3: Pakistan’s dirty little closet full of skeletons

In the aftermath of Sabeen Mahmud’s murder, essentially right after the cancellation of the LUMS talk, a large number of people voiced their anger against those who tried to highlight state abuses in Balochistan.  Mama Qadeer, in particular, came under fire but people vocal about the issue were also accused of being traitorous, or at least of lacking patriotism, or colluding with separatists or, well, you get the idea. The groups under fire have expressed shock over the reaction they have faced. All they were trying to do was highlight the basics – human rights violations, human life itself. Human life, in theory, should be the foremost concern of ...

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Is Morsi going to be Egypt’s Bhutto?

Egypt and Pakistan may not have much in common when it comes to culture, cuisine, and heritage, but when you look at their political landscape, a lot of commonalities spring up. My political alignment is exactly the opposite of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but I admire him as a great public orator and a tactical politician. He was a rarity amongst the political circle of our country, so much so that the biggest political party of Pakistan is still banking on his legacy to lure in voters. In regard to his personal charisma, I think Imran Khan is the only one who comes close to his ranks. ...

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Pakistan’s Sabeen Mahmud is India’s Narendra Dabholkar

Throughout history, there have been numerous attacks on voices of reason and rationality. The dark ages of Europe led to inquisition and mass persecution of critical thinkers and voices of dissent. One of the greatest laments of the 20th century has been the partition of India in 1947 – which in half a century later led to the formation of three nations. Today, the subcontinent is vetted with stories of hate crimes and savagery attributed to faith. The tradition of collective dialogue and social responsibility has been ripped apart into pieces; the new age youth are hungry for blood. In ...

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10 lessons Pakistan can learn from the UK general elections 2015

On May 7, 2015, the 56th general elections of the United Kingdom were held to elect 650 members to the House of Commons. Victory of ruling Conservative (Tory) Party, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, surprised many. However, from purely a Pakistani perspective, there are many lessons to draw. Ten of them are mentioned here: 1. As a party leader, if you lose, you resign This might sound alien to Pakistani ears, yet it is true. Unlike the land of the pure, ethics is a hall mark of British politics. For me, as a Pakistani, it was quite surprising that within hours of ...

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Balochistan 1: The nature and extent of State abuse

Sabeen Mahmud, a peace activist and founder of The Second Floor (T2F), was shot dead on Friday, April 25, 2015, after hosting a talk on Balochistan. Her guests included the now infamous Mama Qadeer, who was also the most prominent invitee at an earlier talk at LUMS. That talk was cancelled after intervention by the state. The subject she highlighted right before her death, and the manner of it, suggests unusual bravery. It also puts an onus on the rest of us to discuss it more. Obviously, Balochistan is too complex an issue to encompass in its entirety, especially for outsiders. We ...

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What have we received from the people of Pakistan except neglect and torment?

What concerns me most is a word. It is a simple word that is not heard on the lips of people in most parts of the world, but for me it is a word that desperately needs to be heard more often. Whenever I do hear this word, or say it myself, it stirs emotions that I cannot explain. I cannot do justice to the memories they evoke. That word is Balochistan. I have grown up around politics and in politics. For a daughter of a Baloch tribal leader and activist, politics and life are irreversibly intertwined. The need to understand the ethnic and national tensions ...

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#LabourDay: Is Pakistan doing enough for its labourers?

International Labour Day is being celebrated today almost everywhere around the world in various ways – some enjoy their holiday at home; some people celebrate it by organising rallies, while television channels arrange special talk shows and programs for paying tribute to the labourers. But the question is, should that be it? What is the working class labourer getting out of all these celebrations? What benefits are they receiving from rallies and talk shows? The amusing part is that the actual labourers don’t even get a holiday on Labour Day, let alone its benefits. I mean, they are paid a tribute; what else could they want? They ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I demand to know more about Balochistan

Back in 1998, while living in Quetta in our cosy cantonment apartment, I had known little about what this province in the southwest of Pakistan is facing. For me, it was more about exploring the rugged mountainous terrain of the largest province of Pakistan, enjoying the juicy apples and cherries, and experiencing the melting of snowflakes on the palm of my hand during winters. Back then I didn’t know that for 60 years this region has been a battleground. Even today many people living in other provinces of Pakistan do not know about the on-going conflict. Mostly because whenever somebody tries to talk ...

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Save the youth from disillusionment, Mr PM – give Sabeen’s cause a voice!

Dear Mr Sharif, There is no doubt that you have heard about the murder of Sabeen Mahmud. Other members of parliament and politicians have extended their grievances. And I’m sure that even as I write this, your PA is vigorously typing out your official response; one that will attempt to soothe the flaring tempers of the people who knew her and those that didn’t. But Sir, haven’t we been here before? Someone beloved and irreplaceable gunned down because they said something that upset someone more powerful than them, and everyone condemns their murder via an official channel. What more will you do Sir, ...

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