Stories about Missing Persons

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 ...

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I am one of the ‘entitled millennials’ whose conscience got pricked by Mohammad Jibran Nasir

There was a post making its rounds on Facebook that caught my attention, which said, “If you were to meet your eight-year-old self today, what advice would you give?” And then a slightly more chilling question, “What would your eight-year-old self say about you?” I remember myself at eight, naïve and highly impressionable, living in a world of make-believe, convinced that life was as simple as being one of the good guys and standing up against all forces of evil. But with time and growth came the realisation that things aren’t so simple. This is a blog I may perhaps be better off not writing. ...

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Is The OA just another Stranger Things?

On December 16th, 2016, Netflix released a new science fiction show called The OA which tingled with fantasy elements and supernatural vibes. The show is created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij and the executive producers include big names such as the recently discussed Brad Pitt. The series focuses on Prairie Johnson, an adopted young woman who comes back after being missing for seven years. The OA. Upon her return, Johnson calls herself “The OA”, exhibits scars on her back, and can see, despite having been blind when she went missing. She refuses to tell the FBI and ...

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Kashmir Day does not mean anything to the average Pakistani

Growing up during the turbulent 80s in Karachi, I was never fully aware of the Kashmir issue. As a matter of fact, Kashmir was just a faraway scenic land for most Karachiities. It was largely irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things and it barely evoked sympathy from within us.   A certain event strengthened this notion back in 1989. After my matriculation exams, I was trying to brush up my general knowledge in order to apply for a course in the Pakistan Army. A certain piece of news caught my attention regarding rigging in the General Elections in Occupied Kashmir. This inevitably led to ...

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As a Kashmiri, I ask, will my scars ever heal?

When people talk about the effects of conflict on the psyche of the youth in Kashmir, I automatically recall my experiences in a conflict-ridden Kashmir as well. With every passing murder of innocent youths in the area – such as the recent killing of Khalid Muzaffar in the North-Kashmir area of Tral, or the earlier case of the Pathribal and Machil fake encounter –  I wonder how I could have been in their place or could have ended up taking arms against the perpetrators to avenge the pain inflicted upon us. So here I am, writing my story, a story which nearly every Kashmiri can relate to. I ...

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#ShameOnLums

Eight years ago, on a November afternoon, I stood with hundreds of students at LUMS protesting against a military dictator. The students held placards, shouting slogans, and we were effectively having a stand-off with the police. Riot police with heavy armour, shields and batons was employed by the government to silence our voices. The police had warrants to arrest several students, and professors, on phony charges of ‘wall-chalking’ and vandalism. The scene was set for a direct confrontation. The impasse was broken by the direct intervention of the then Vice-chancellor of LUMS, Dr Syed Zahoor Hassan. The police retreated from entering ...

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What would you do if your brother was abducted?

In the words of Imam Baksh Nasikh, “Teri ankhein tuo sukhan go hain magar kaun sune, Kyun kar awaaz karein mardam-e-beemar buland?” (“Your eyes tell us everything, but who will listen, Why would a weak nation raise its voice?”) Picture provided by the author. Source: AP This image of Farzana Majeed is iconic – a young woman in a blue shawl and red cap, standing with a portrait of her missing brother after walking 2,000 kilometres to find him. Farzana holds a double Masters and is the general secretary of the Voice for Baloch Missing Person’s March, members of which walked across Pakistan to ...

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Where were you Lahore, when we were protesting for our missing Baloch brethren?

I attended the long march of the Baloch Voice for Missing Persons (BVMP) in Lahore to show my solidarity with the cause. I was amongst the journalists who came from various news organisations to document a critical portion of the walk that had departed from Quetta last year. The protestors were entering the capital of Punjab. The reception they got here could mirror the reception they receive in Islamabad. The walk had caused quite a stir among those who followed the story behind it. The protest walk, led by Mama Qadeer Baloch, the vice president of the BVMP, received due press attention at ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

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We play the blame game while the Balochi’s suffer, why?

Balochistan is a gateway for the development of Pakistan. The treasures hidden here, if unearthed and utilised properly, can bring prosperity and help overcome the woes of both Pakistan and its people. The enemies of Pakistan are aware of this and through different tactics — kidnappings, killings and terrorist attacks — are fuelling lawlessness in the province. Their actions have sowed hatred among the Baloch people. All this did not happen overnight but took years, rather decades. It is a testament to the failure of our power hungry rulers, whether they are in the center or in the provinces. Not one ...

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