Stories about Balochistan

Quetta: An outsider’s perspective

The city of Quetta has been in turmoil for years, and with that comes many misconceptions about the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. One such mistaken belief is that while visiting Quetta one must dress in the local attire and avoid any western clothing, such as jeans, so as to not stand out as a non-resident. For someone who has heard these remarks repeatedly, I was extremely curious, to say the least, ahead of my visit to Quetta for the first time, even more so because it is believed that the people of Balochistan do not like the people ...

Read Full Post

Underappreciated, undermined: Five performers that went unnoticed in the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in an attempt to renovate and reorganise the much criticised domestic set-up, held a player draft for the upcoming Haier Pakistan Cup scheduled to begin on April 19, 2016, in Faisalabad. The tournament will consist of five regional teams: Federal, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan. During the draft system, captains of all five teams were given complete autonomy to build a team from scratch consisting of 15 players to be chosen from a list of over 170 domestic performers. Similar to the draft conducted previously, before the beginning of Pakistan Super League (PSL), this draft caused ...

Read Full Post

Does the death penalty target criminals or the poor?

A damning report places Pakistan as third in the list of countries where the most number of executions took place in 2015, after China and Iran and before Saudi Arabia and the United States. In other compelling statistics, in 2014, the Global Slavery Index, Pakistan ranked third in a list of 167 countries where the problem of human slavery is most severe. In 2012, we had the most number of people (28 million) affected by war and conflict. Along with other South Asian countries, Pakistan ranks high in hunger and malnutrition statistics, with about 41 million people undernourished in the period 2014-16, a whopping 22 per ...

Read Full Post

Are more children going to pay the price for Pakistan’s indecisive stance towards religious extremism?

Back in December 2014, Taliban terrorists attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 151 people, most of them students. It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan’s terrorism-tortured history, and prompted some Pakistanis to describe it as their 9/11. National leaders, meanwhile, described the massacre as a turning point in the nation’s approach to terrorism. They vowed to crack down more robustly against all terrorists in Pakistan— not just those, like the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), that strike in Pakistan, but also those like the Haqqani Network that strike only in neighbouring countries. To an extent, Pakistan did indeed intensify its campaign against terrorism. It ramped up military operations against the ...

Read Full Post

Prejudice towards languages and ethnicities other than Punjabi has to end

Textbooks play an important role in building the world view of students. In a country like Pakistan where the reading culture is non-existent, these books serve as primary sources of information for a huge chunk of society. Khursheed Kamal Aziz also known as K K Aziz began his book ‘The Murder of History in Pakistan’ with the following words, “In every country, the textbook is the primary implement of education at the school and pre-university stages of instruction. In Pakistan, it is the only instrument of imparting education on all levels, because the teacher and the lecturer don’t teach or ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan okay with its houbara bustards being hunted to benefit “foreign policy”?

Consider this:  1. A sovereign government – despite being a signatory to international treaties protecting endangered species – issues permits to Arab royalty to hunt an endangered species of bird within its borders as a way of staying on good terms with the royals. 2. Locals rejoice because thousands are employed to wait on these lavish expeditions of the royals, who, in turn, will finance the building of local hospitals, educational institutions, mosques and religious seminaries. This is what is currently happening in Pakistan. Although the construction purported to be financed is being questioned by some, Arab money is definitely benefiting some in the country ...

Read Full Post

India and Pakistan both share the spirit of Bollywood

The recently released Bollywood movie Airlift, based on the evacuation of Indians residing in Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1990, has won much acclaim in both India and Pakistan. Rightfully so, for its brilliant cinematography, outstanding performances by all the artists (especially Akshay Kumar who has steered away from typically playing romantic comedy or action roles) and its excellent screenplay. The tragic scenario of a war zone and how it can take away everything you have is depicted in a heart-rending manner, along with how man’s survival skills are put to the test. The apathy of many politicians and bureaucrats, as ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post