Stories about Balochistan

Why aren’t there any Sindhi or Baloch players in our PSL squads?

Watching an intense Pakistan Super League (PSL) match, my siblings and I had our eyes glued to the television screen. It was Quetta Gladiators versus Islamabad United. The Gladiators were playing brilliantly and I was quite focused on the match when my sister asked me a question that diverted all my attention away from the match.   She asked, “Are all the players playing for Quetta Gladiatorn born in Balochistan?” After a momentary silence, I replied, “No, not all of them, maybe some of them.” She asked the same question about the other four teams as well and my answer remained the same. After the match ended and ...

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CPEC: Will the Baloch be victim to the Pakistani state’s deceitful tactics again?

When I refer to the Baloch, I do not make reference to Sardars and Nawabs, minsters or stakeholders, but the common Baloch who suffers on a daily basis as a result of Pakistan’s deplorable negligence and incapability to protect the largest and arguably, richest province of their country.  The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has once again brought Balochistan in the limelight amongst the media and politicians. There is a mayhem of disagreements on which province will benefit the most from the CPEC and many fingers pointing at Punjab for eternally overshadowing the rest in terms of benefitting from natural resources. Reservations from all provinces ...

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Believing in one’s own propaganda: Newspapers of Dhaka and the war of 1971

During a recent visit to Dhaka, I had the opportunity to do research in the National Archives of Bangladesh and the Library of Dhaka University. Although the creation of Bangladesh was not the focus of my research, I was anxious to learn more about the tragic events resulting in the death of countless civilians and the dismemberment of Pakistan. For this purpose, I picked up the files of two English newspapers, Morning News and Pakistan Observer, published from Dhaka and examined their contents for the months of November and December. I looked at the headlines, feature articles and advertisements printed in these newspapers between November ...

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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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