Stories about Balochistan

The plight of Balochistan’s differently abled

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated on December 3rd annually. According to a fact sheet issued by the United Nations (UN), differently abled people account for 15 percent of the world’s population and despite 18 million people living with either a physical or intellectual disability in Pakistan, it is not a very inclusive country. Balochistan is no different especially since it is also suffering from dismal conditions with barely any focus on literacy and many living under the poverty line. In such conditions, it is no surprise that differently abled people are marginalised in the province. According to ...

Read Full Post

Will imported tomatoes help tackle rising prices?

In an attempt to tackle the rising prices of vegetables and fruits in Pakistan, the government finally caved in on Wednesday and allowed for tomatoes to be imported from Iran. The Pakistani masses have been bearing the brunt of the nation’s economic woes, but that burden has been worsened recently after the prices of tomatoes began to rise due to faulty economic polices and bad weather which adversely impacted harvests. But perhaps this desperate reaction to reach to Iran for some much needed tomatoes was the result of Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s, the prime minister’s financial adviser, much ridiculed gaffe earlier in the week. One ...

Read Full Post

The resilient tribesmen and Balochistan’s Chilghoza trees

Last month at a ceremony held in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, a project from a remote part of Balochistan, the Kasa Ghar Community Based Organisation of the Sulaiman Range, won the Equator Prize for conserving Chilghoza forests. I was thrilled to hear about the global recognition (the project was one amongst 22 communities across the world which were selected for this prize) as I have actually visited these Chilghoza forests in the Shirani district of Balochistan. By creating a successful value-added market model for Chilghoza nuts, this community-based organisation has conserved around 9,000 ...

Read Full Post

Will the victims of the Balochistan University scandal get justice?

A month ago, the Balochistan High Court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to look into the sexual harassment reports which had emerged from Balochistan University. According to FIA findings, both female and male students “were being blackmailed by some staff members through ‘objectionable’ videos of them, recorded through CCTV cameras hidden at various places on the campus including its washrooms.” These reports are bound to have repercussions not just for the educational institution under question but also on women’s education in Pakistan as a whole. Whether or not those responsible for blackmailing, harassment and an evident breach of privacy will be ...

Read Full Post

Why does Balochistan have a dearth of trained psychotherapists?

It was an uneventful day at work when I got a query from an acquaintance asking for a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist in Quetta. I asked everyone I knew in connection to this and exhausted all my options only to find out that there were no practicing psychotherapists or clinical psychologists in the region. It came as a shock to me, after all, why did this major city of Balochistan not have a single clinical psychologist? And what about the rest of the province?  Years passed and somehow this notion remained trapped in my mind, and the requirement for referrals for ...

Read Full Post

Putting the Balochistan budget on the right course

Whenever a new government assumes power, either at the centre or in a province, they often state that the economic woes are inherited from the financial challenges of previous years. The Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) led coalition government in Balochistan seems to be repeating this mantra. However, there can be no denying of the fact that the present government inherited a deficit of over Rs62 billion, in addition to billions in liabilities and unforeseen expenditures. But what led the Balochistan government to this position, where the blame is being passed from one party to the other? The policies enforced by both ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan and its BLA conundrum

The United States (US) has stated that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) will now be considered a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGTS) group.  BLA has long been blamed for carrying out deadly attacks against its opponents, Pakistan’s security forces and labourers from other provinces, but it has been the recent spate of violence which catapulted the organisation into the spotlight. It appears that the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year and a deadly attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar earlier this year, has led to the US State Department declaring that,  “BLA is an armed separatist ...

Read Full Post

We praise working mothers like New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden but criticise our own

The past few years have been remarkable when it comes to the world accepting working mothers. Yuka Ogata, Larissa Waters, Jacinda Ardern and our very own Mahjabeen Sheran are all working mothers and politicians who made history by reminding the world of how women everywhere balance motherhood alongside a busy career in a way that fathers never have to. When 42-year-old Ogata brought her baby boy to the Kumamoto City Assembly in Japan in 2017 – her way of highlighting the difficulties faced by working mothers in the country – it led to her receiving a written warning from fellow members for ...

Read Full Post

It is our inaction, not foreign involvement that is worsening the Balochistan conflict

Balochistan is once again in the grip of deadly violence. At least three people, including a prayer leader, were killed and 28 wounded in a remotely-controlled explosion inside a mosque an hour before Friday prayers. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. According to security sources, the target was a religious cleric, while the bombing itself was a result of Taliban infighting. However, this information has not been independently confirmed. Given the nature of the attack, however, it is apparent this is the work of a religious fanatic group. Pashtoonabad is located on the outskirts of Quetta and is predominantly ...

Read Full Post

With heavy snowfall in April, climate change has worsened life in Balochistan

Ahmad Ali and his 55-year-old mother have had their last meal of the day. They go to bed after offering their Isha prayers. They both have been frugal because they want to save some dry wood for the next day. It has been raining all day and it continues to rain all night. In the early morning, when Ali’s mother awoke for her Fajar prayers, it started to snow. The early spring snowfall was surprising for the locals since the valley, which was once famous for its snow-clad winters, has seen a decline in its share of rainfall and snowfall ...

Read Full Post