Shezad Baloch

Shezad Baloch

A research journalist and former Express Tribune correspondent. He tweets as @shezadbaloch (twitter.com/Shezadbaloch)

Naya Pakistan, purana Balochistan

As expected, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) grabbed more seats than any other party in the legislative provincial assembly in the 2018 General Elections. Though they did not win an absolute majority, BAP has enough elected members to attract other parties and independent candidates to form a coalition government. In the entire history of the province, there has never been a political party that has enjoyed an absolute majority in the assembly, so switching party loyalties to form a coalition government is a common occurrence. Of the 50 members of the house, the BAP acquired 17 seats, with two of them going ...

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No one knows what is really happening in Balochistan

Last Friday’s suicide attack in Mastung was the one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan’s history.  The death toll from the attack now stands at 149 with more than 200 people wounded. Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, candidate of the newly emerged Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and a favourite of the state, was among the dead. The slain Raisani’s son was also killed in a bombing on July 29, 2011 in Mastung football stadium. Let’s take a look at recent terror attacks in Mastung, a district located about 50 miles southwest of Quetta. In early June of this year, two suicide bombers attempted ...

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Will Sadiq Sanjrani’s appointment as Senate chairman help Balochistan in any way?

Whether in the realm of natural resources or politics, Balochistan has always been a target of exploitation by politicians and other powerful forces in Pakistan. Whenever Balochistan is mentioned, it is invariably described as the least developed region of Pakistan. It is always “volatile”, “neglected” and “backward”; the region with the worst health indicators and the poorest infrastructure. It is the place where a majority of children are out of school, and there is little access to basic resources available everywhere else in the country. Nevertheless, while such problems are a fact of life for the majority of the people of Balochistan, our ...

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Blaming India everytime for the problems in Balochistan is really not the solution, Pakistan

The media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces recently confirmed that at least 20 Baloch insurgents, including a Farrari commander, have surrendered to Pakistan Rangers Punjab. Neither the commander nor the insurgents were identified in the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), nor were any details of the surrender provided.  The erstwhile insurgents revealed that they were led by the self-exiled president of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti, and were receiving funding from the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Bugti is also accused of leading the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), a banned organisation which claimed responsibility for ...

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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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Lalas are fighting each other…but who is giving them weapons?

“Chachu, I heard three deafening explosions and I have been hearing gunshots for three days now! Dad is not even letting me go to school because of the terrible situation outside,” said my 12-year-old nephew, while calling me from his house in Chakiwara, a part of the gangster stronghold in Lyari. “This time Lalas are fighting with each other,” he continued. Lala, though a Balochi word meaning older brother, is ironically now used to refer to gangsters in Lyari. Once again, Lyari finds itself in the midst of a gang war, at the mercy of a handful of thugs who roam the streets, shooting sophisticated ammunition ...

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Silenced for speaking the truth

How easy is it for a person to tell the truth when he knows it could cost him his life? In Balochistan, the truth is seldom allowed to surface. If it does, it’s often distorted. However, I find it fascinating that there are people who speak up knowing that truth would endanger their life. Despite the terrible state of law and order and a deep sense of insecurity in the province, a less-known but brave doctor stood up for justice and told the truth, which ultimately resulted in his assassination. A year ago, police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah, a key witness ...

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A president puts people first, not his comfort!

It was a normal day in the city and roads were open for traffic. Not a single person could be found expressing resentment over the visit of the most important person of the United States of America, in the wake of foolproof security measures that had been taken. Yes, I am talking about President Barack Obama. He visited Kirkwood Community College where I am currently enrolled in a programme to learn about American culture and language. President Obama addressed a large audience in a hall located on the premises of the college, which stretches across 680 acres. However, while security ...

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Perils of reporting in Balochistan

A senior journalist chose his words very carefully while explaining to a guest who had come to Quetta from Islamabad to compile a report on difficulties and circumstances under which journalists work in Balochistan. “The deteriorating situation is a result of war and terror that Pakistan has been fighting for the past three decades. There is lawlessness in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal regions but Balochistan is the worst affected,” he told him. His fears and calculations were understandable following the multifaceted threats journalists face on a daily basis. Journalists who received threats lodged complaints and said they could not edit the news ...

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Balochistan: Hunger strike for not teaching?

Last week about 100 teachers of state-run schools in Balochistan launched a hunger-strike “unto death” outside the Quetta Press Club to pressurize the government into issuing a notification for the acceptance of their demands. They asked for a restructuring of their pay scale, conveyance allowance, and investigation into embezzled money. This sort of activity is quite popular in Balochistan. Teachers of state-run schools often resort to protest for a rise in pay scales, particularly when the annual examinations are near, in order to exert maximum pressure on the government. Teachers from far flung areas also turned up to this protest in Quetta only to show their strength, ...

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