Stories about Balochistan

Are the people of Balochistan not human enough for us?

Nations can be judged in times of tragedy. How they live, how they breathe and how they react to an atmosphere of fear, fire and blood, tells a lot about them. As a nation, which has seen years of relentless bloodshed, bombings, beheadings and coffins, the Baloch, Pakhtuns and Hazaras of Balochistan are amongst the most resilient people our region’s history has witnessed. They have been cut down, mauled, killed in their own homes – yet they do not react irrationally nor do they retaliate barbarically in return. Such resilience and patience is beyond compare in modern times. However, if ...

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Will Pakistan learn from its mistakes with Afghanistan to save its ties with Iran?

Even though tensions between Islamabad and Kabul over the Torkham border crossing are yet to be settled, Pakistan has laid the foundation of “Pakistan Gate” near the Iranian border in Taftan. The gate is said to check any illegal trade occurring via Iran, and also help the border guards effectively manage and monitor the border crossing. What makes this gate different from the one in Torkham is that it is not only built with mutual consent from both Pakistan and Iran – but also on special demand from Tehran, as it has already built a gate of its own ...

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The National Action Plan has been as counter-productive as Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Following the ghastly December 2014 Taliban attack on 132 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s government unanimously passed a National Action Plan (NAP) so that, “No room will be left for the extremism in any part of the country.” Among its 20 points, NAP outlaws radical literature and funding, calls for restructuring in the FATA region and Balochistan to address regional grievances, and lifts the moratorium on the death sentence for convicted terrorists. But well over a year into its execution, NAP has been less effective and more counter-productive than meets the eye. As one of numerous examples, consider the case of 81-year-old optician Abdul Shukoor. This past January, Shukoor, an Ahmadi Muslim, and ...

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Why are Pakistani authorities silent over Mullah Mansoor’s death?

The second amir of the Taliban, Mullah Mansoor, has been dispatched to the hereafter by a hellfire missile fired from a Reaper drone or so claim the Americans. Others can neither confirm nor deny. Our own government is going through the same old motions. Denial. Conveniently a passport has been found unscathed. It is amazing how sturdy and fantastically fire-proof the material Pakistani passports are made of. If nothing else, this shows true ingenuity. Our passport might be considered the second or third worst passport in the world, but at least it can survive a drone attack. Imagine the potential. ...

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The story behind my film, Maalik – From the horse’s mouth

Maalik is in the midst of a huge controversy; all kinds of motives are being attributed to my film and, although everyone is entitled to their own views, I thought a straight narrative from the one who knows Maalik the best may help. A brief intro before going further: I was born in Quetta and proudly call Balochistan my home. I am ethnically a Punjabi and my ancestral roots may be connected to a village near Nankana sahib in the district of Sheikhupura, near Lahore. Being a common man, I have little use for title, surname and caste and I have never used my ...

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Balochistan is far from “uncivilised” and these women prove just that!

That Pakistan has a youth bulge is well known to most informed readers, but what the youth thinks about the myriad challenges faced by the country rarely gets space in the media, especially when it comes to females from minority communities. The First International Conference on Social Sciences recently held at Sardar Bahadur Khan Womens’ University in Quetta, Balochistan, provided me with an opportunity to learn just that. SBK Womens’ University caters to around 6000 female students from all parts of Balochistan and offers up to MPhil and PhD degrees. In 2013, the university was attacked in a suicide bombing that ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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