Stories about Balochistan

Musharraf trial: Is this really the most pertinent problem for Pakistan?

Musharraf being tried for treason is a shame. It is a shame in much the same way that he wasn’t allowed to contest elections while other ‘leaders’, many of them with criminal charges outstanding against their names, were permitted. It is a shame because we let people accused of corruption become leaders of the country, industrialists become prime ministers and journalists become cricketing board chiefs. I’m not here to pass a judgement on Musharraf. My issue is with the principle at hand. If Musharraf has been tried for treason then there is an extensive list of politicians that also deserve some, if not more, ...

Read Full Post

Jinnah’s love for Balochistan

There have been times in the history of Pakistan when the founding father was manipulated, criticised, misquoted, used, abused and misused by different political parties for different political purposes. Not very long ago, a prominent political leader questioned Jinnah’s nationality. Fortunately the nation, as well as Quaid, survived the insult, and life moved on. However, never in the history of Pakistan was Jinnah disowned from his contributions towards an independent and sovereign Pakistan, nor made into an oppressive figure that haunted the corridors of Pakistan’s national history. Even the hard-headed Taliban never questioned Jinnah’s personality and his attitude towards Islam (though he was condemned by ...

Read Full Post

Balochistan bleeds: A Saturday that shook the province to the core

Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University is the only women’s university in Quetta. It was established in March, 2004 and approximately 3,000 female students are currently studying at this university. Last Saturday, something tragic happened that left these students scarred for life. Now, they worry if they will ever be able to pursue their dreams. Like any other day, students attended their classes, packed their bags and switched on their cell phones to mark the end of their school day. They were chatting, laughing and bidding their friends farewell as they made their way towards the bus that would take them home. ...

Read Full Post

Terrorist attack on Quaid’s residency

Being a History student, it came as sad news to me that Pakistan’s founding father’s residence was attacked on June 15 in Ziarat where, amongst other things, his personal belongings were all destroyed. Ziarat is popular for its natural beauty and for being Quaid’s last abode during his days of illness. It came as no surprise to me as many started raising questions regarding his stay in Ziarat at the time. Despite the unavailability of doctors and lack of medical facilities in this region, he was shifted there and while being brought back to Karachi, his health deteriorated and ...

Read Full Post

What will elections bring for Hazaras – more death?

It was October 5, 1999 when ex-education minister Sardar Nisar Ali was ambushed by “unknown” terrorists. His driver and personal bodyguard died on the spot, he, however, was fortunate enough to have survived the attack but sustained serious bullet injuries. This was the first terrorist attempt ever to be made on a prominent Hazara figure in Quetta in a democratic set up, led by the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Soon after, leading Hazara businessmen including Sardar Saadat Ali, the younger brother of Sardar Nisar Ali started receiving life threatening calls known to be later on from the ‘alleged’ terrorists in Afghanistan. On ...

Read Full Post

Balochistan’s electoral politics

The decision of Baloch nationalist parties, including the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), the National Party (NP) and the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) to take part in the upcoming elections is a good omen not only for Pakistan but also for Balochistan, which is fraught with every kind of danger — enforced disappearances, kidnappings and sectarian killings. Baloch separatists and government forces point fingers at each other for all this mayhem. At this juncture of uncertainty and scepticism, where Baloch nationalist parties are treading cautiously, fearing the backlash they might face from separatist elements for their decision to go to the ...

Read Full Post

Iran-Pak pipeline: Still a Pipedream

It’s official; the Pakistan-Iran pipeline project will soon be underway. Work is scheduled to begin on the Pakistan side today (Iran’s portion is nearly done), and is expected to be completed in less than two years. Predictably, Washington is not pleased. “We think that we provide and are providing the Pakistani government and people a better way to meet their energy needs,” a State Department spokesman recently declared. That’s a questionable claim. US officials have been trumpeting their investments in hydropower projects, which are intended to generate more than 1,000 megawatts of power. Yet the pipeline is expected to provide more than 4,000 MW. Indeed, from a pure supply/demand argument, the ...

Read Full Post

Why I believe the jirga system should stay

We, as people, are very quick to jump to conclusions, form opinions, and criticise what we hear and see in the news. It may be something as trivial as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) holding talks with Tahirul Qadri, or the supposedly fake video that went viral showing the Taliban handing down 50 lashes to a girl in Swat who was found to be in violation of the Shariah law by the Taliban jirga. Very recently when a jirga in Balochistan declared 13 girls vani to settle a tribal feud, soon after television and social media were inundated with extreme views, some slammed the jirga system as ‘barbaric’, ‘medieval’ and an ...

Read Full Post

Fragile political transition towards democracy

The last session of Parliament will mark the government’s completion of its constitutional tenure, irrespective of the fact whether the roots of true democracy have been nurtured or not. The past five years have been a highly tumultuous period with economic slowdowns, corruption and terrorism plaguing the country like never before. A look at the functioning of the legislative assembly shows the political tension between the winners of the 2008 elections and the main opposition party, with little constructive performance by the former and productive criticism by the latter. The achievements of the PPP government do not match the criterion necessary for ...

Read Full Post

Police powers to FC in Balochistan: A futile measure

In Balochistan, the police are currently enjoying additional powers under the Police Act of the British colonial days to raid, arrest, detain and prosecute anyone found violating the laws of the land. The police enjoy the power to search any suspected place where criminals are hiding illegal weapons, narcotics and other contraband goods. When violent incidents increased in the province, mainly through the targeted killing of Hazara Shias by terrorists in Quetta and its outskirts, the provincial government gave police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) to raid, arrest, detain and question suspects involved in targeted killings and other heinous ...

Read Full Post