Stories about Balochistan

Despite Bugti, a peaceful Balochistan will remain a distant dream

Brahumdagh Bugti, in his recent statement has invited all Baloch political parties for negotiations to sort out their differences. Years in exile have mellowed the young Bugti, who was once viewed as a firebrand proponent for an independent Balochistan. Malik Siraj Akbar, a senior Baloch journalist based in Washington, DC, noted in one of his articles in The Huffington Post that, “In the past, Mr Bugti, 34, who leads the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), had insisted that Pakistan should first recognise the Baloch right to statehood and then ask them to sit on the negotiation table. The BRP, in the meanwhile, has had to pay a ...

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Will Maryam Nawaz invest Michelle Obama’s $70 million anywhere outside of Punjab?

This week we were treated to scenes of Maryam Nawaz Sharif standing with Michelle Obama as the First Lady announced an investment of $70 million as part of a new partnership between the United States and Pakistan to promote girls’ education. The money is part of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which started up in March of this year and seeks to expand educational opportunities for girls. Ms Sharif also spoke about Nawaz Sharif’s education reforms, and the importance of educating girls. It’s good to see commitment at the highest level to this worthy goal. However, I can’t help being a bit of a cynic about ...

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Has Quetta’s charm been lost forever?

While travelling on the Regional Cooperation for Development Highway (RCD) and the National Highway under the moonlight, which shone so bright that one could clearly see the crossing, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. It made me reminisce about how Quetta used to be a peaceful, calm, and content valley – once upon a time. Photo: Ijaz Younus Baloch Over the past few years, Quetta has lost its charm of tranquillity and serenity. Gone are the days when roaming on Prince Road to find the right eatery for dinner and queuing in front of Flora for ...

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Eid at Rama Pir’s Festival: A weekend of qurbaani meat, prasad and religious harmony

Tando Allahyar, a district tucked away in interior Sindh, had a very curious Eidul Azha this year. On the night of September 24th, while cows and goats sheepishly awaited slaughter in the narrow galis (streets), the Rama Pir ground was alive with the sounds of bells and chants. I visit Tando Allahyar every year to celebrate Eid with my family. When I was young, I used to be able to go out on the streets without a care in the world. Now that I’m older, I can’t leave the house without a distinct purpose and a chaadar wrapped around my body. When my ...

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What is Pakistan’s national dish? Hint: It’s not daal roti!

During lunch, a colleague asked us what is the national dish of Pakistan, and everyone present provided a different answer. I said that’s easy, it has to be daal roti (lentils and flat bread), right? This was quickly rebutted by someone mentioning that it has to be a rice-based dish and that roti is not as common as you may think, especially in the past decade or so.  One would assume the answer is biryani? I mean who does not eat biryani? But no, it cannot be. Biryani is too elite a meal and too limited to certain regions of this vast and culturally diverse country. ...

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Why Pakistan should focus on Iran’s CPEC entry rather than fighting India

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that trading blocks and economic alliances rather than geo-political rivalries and deadlocks are the key ingredients of success in the modern-day world. Gone are the days when building military might and muscle would enhance the prestige of nations or make them stand head and shoulders above the rest. The evolution of European Economic Community (EEC) into a prosperous European Union (EU) and the transformation of South East Asian economies into a formidable Asian Tigers unit only go to show that economics trump over politics. Without digressing much, Pakistan’s recent offer to Iran to join the China-Pakistan Economic ...

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Does Islamabad really care about Balochistan?

This August 14th, approximately 400 Baloch insurgents lay down their arms in Quetta to renounce violence. This surrender to the security forces, however, does little to offer prospects of peace in Balochistan in the long run. Analysts believe that the fighters fear that their struggle has gone down a cul-de-sac without much chance of success. Malik Siraj Akbar, a Baloch journalist argued the same point in the Huffington Post. I’m a Baloch myself, and I speak from personal experience when I say – we have been alienated. Since the integration of Balochistan into Pakistan, it has faced more problems than any other province in the country has and ...

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I am the bare Pakistan

I am Pakistan’s disaster, I am Pakistan’s reluctance, I am Pakistan’s prejudice, I am Pakistan’s vehemence.   I am that blazing ferocious sun, which strikes only the poor of Karachi and pardons the rich, I am that torrent of monsoon flood that demolish the house of the peasant, overlooking the palace of the landlord nearby, I am that dancing death in a farmer’s house whose seeds the government didn’t buy, I am that wrath of God destined for the weak only.   I am the falsified history which is being taught to the students, History which glorifies the tyrants and undermine the real sons of the soil, I am the bellicose politician’s instinct of felony; felony that ...

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Six reasons why Moor raised the bar for Pakistani cinema

Pakistani cinema is emerging at a very unique point in our cultural history. Hollywood is knocking at our neighbour’s door to the east as Bollywood sets its eye on the 500 crore club. On our Western front, Iran has become a globally recognised force in neo realist filmmaking, yet people get jailed there for dancing to a particular song. Afghanistan remains to be the centre of attention with a complicated set of woes and a new administration in place, and China is slowly becoming one of the biggest film markets in the world. In the middle of this hue and cry ...

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This Independence Day, let’s give back to Pakistan

August 14th is right around the corner and I decided to share some thoughts to rejuvenate our love for Pakistan. Celebrating 68 years of independence, have you ever pondered about our love for this country and why exactly we love Pakistan? Have you ever thought about channelling this love into something more positive for yourself, your country, or in fact, all of us? As a young Pakistani female, I can say that the majority of us have this undefined patriotism, which reaches its pinnacle during a cricket match, quivers during a political debate, and dies when it comes to doing something practical for our country. This year, around ...

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