Stories about Balochistan

Why reverting to the karez system might save Balochistan’s water and drought crisis

In an arid country like Pakistan, water in the form of rivers, glaciers and groundwater is life – it is what gives us sustenance. When there is too little, we have droughts, and when there is too much, we have floods. This is how it has been for centuries in this part of the world, and it remains how it is in Balochistan, home to the 7,000-year-old Mehrgarh civilisation. Pakistan’s largest province is currently in the midst of a drought, and yet some districts have been flooded as well. I was part of a group of journalists from Islamabad who ...

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The dark side of coal mining: We can walk in knowingly, but we never know if we’ll get to walk out

It was a hot and humid afternoon on August 13th. Tajak Khan, clad in a proper coal miner’s uniform, sat on the rough ground along with his four co-workers, 800 feet deep from the surface of the earth. They took a small break from the day-long digging inside a coal mine near district Harnai located in the northeast of Balochistan. It was around 4pm when a massive blast rocked the coal mine and nearby areas, Khan and his four companions got trapped inside and were never heard of again. Five dead bodies were recovered the next morning after a much-delayed rescue operation. In a coal mine ...

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The good guns of Balochistan: Why fighters like Nawab Din Bugti dropped their pens and picked up guns

“No one likes to pick up a gun instead of a pen, until one is forced to save his family and honour,” Nawab Din Bugti, a guerrilla commander in the Bugti Aman Force (BAF) turned member of the Balochistan Levies, replied to a question about why he did not complete his education and picked up a gun instead. Nawab in the BAF A muscular man with a thick, black and curly moustache, though not very tall, Nawab talks with a smile on his face until he starts talking about his enemies, whom he recognises as the goons of ...

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Pakistan is ‘Asia’s best kept secret’ – what will it take to reveal it globally?

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it” – Martin Parr. Pakistan, unfortunately, is a country that has been at the receiving end of such mythology and perception for a good while now, even as things on ground have changed quite drastically over the last few years. According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), terror-related incidents have declined 58%, from 2,060 incidents in 2010 to 681 in 2017. These figures are testament to the success of our Army during the massive military operations conducted in the northern areas of ...

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Like him or not, Jahangir Tareen won the game for PTI

The saying that one man’s hero is another man’s villain was perhaps meant for Jahangir Khan Tareen. For the opposition and forces against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Tareen is a villain going around ‘buying’ the loyalties of legislators. For his own party, Tareen is a hero who, despite being disqualified for life by the Supreme Court, still works round-the-clock to fulfil Imran Khan’s mission.    Tareen’s wealth (and his airplane) has always been the focus for both the media and his critics. In particular, the way he approached the independent candidates for the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly after ...

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In the midst of all the tabdeeli in K-P, did Imran Khan forget about its women?

In June, Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and now set to be the country’s future prime minister, made a few uninformed statements on feminism. He said,  “I disagree with the western concepts of feminism. It has completely degraded the role of a mother.”   The internet responded to this and set the record straight. The theory and practice of feminism, which is certainly not always western, has led to maternity benefits for working mothers and has elevated motherhood in that regard. But Imran has previously opined on topics that stray from his area of expertise. His views on feminism do not ...

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King of the north: Why K-P made history by re-electing PTI

It’s rightly said that holding elections is one of the most significant features of the democratic process in any country. Elections are held periodically to gauge which political party is popular with the populace. In essence, appealing to the will of the electorate is what makes a democracy such a robust and endearing process. As part of our democratic dispensation, the General Elections were held in Pakistan on July 25, 2018. Although the lead up to the polls was marred by unfortunate incidents in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), yet Pakistan saw relative peace and tranquillity on election day. Subsequently, cricketer-turned-politician Imran ...

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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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Sara Taseer belittling Baloch women for voting proves money can’t buy integrity

With countless security threats lingering around the time of elections every five years, along with general political uncertainty, many citizens are afraid to step out of their comfort and safety zones in order to fulfil the responsibility of casting their votes. There has been a deadly and heart-breaking series of bomb blasts that have taken place in Quetta, killing numerous civilians and politicians, especially the most recent one taking place directly outside a polling station on Election Day. At a crucial time like this in the country, where voter turnout has been relatively low in the past, perhaps encouragement to ...

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Make matriculation/high school compulsory to vote

On July 25th, Pakistan’s fate, at least for the next five years, will be in its own hands. The future will come down to all of us as we make certain choices in that polling booth. Some of us will still be thinking, weighing pros and cons, measuring the benefits, and calculating the risks. But most of us would have likely made up our minds on who to vote for before judgement day. The next day, Pakistan, a sovereign state since 1947, will see only the second successive transition in democratic power. But I have a question: are all people informed enough to ...

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