Stories about Quetta

Is Imran Khan not the PM of Balochistan? Is the Quetta attack not as tragic as the Christchurch attack?

As I begin to put these words on digital paper, I am appalled at the memories of every time I have written about this same tragedy. Despite the periodic occurrence of these catastrophes, it is evident nobody gives a damn. Thus, I ask, ‘Jacinda, Jacinda. Where art thou, Jacinda?’ It was only a few weeks ago that Christchurch suffered a devastating hate crime against Muslims at the hands of a self-righteous terrorist. The whole of New Zealand, spearheaded by their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, rallied to protect and support its Muslim community. Her government went on to ban the category ...

Read Full Post

Because extremists don’t criticise extremists

Human emotions are really weird sometimes; well most of the time, to be honest. We hate everything we don’t like, fear everything we don’t understand, and blindly love everything we identify with. We let our feelings cloud our understanding of the world, and we unfortunately could not continue thinking rationally even if we wanted to. Before anyone decides to deride my tongue-in-cheek critique of human emotions, I do wish to categorically state that our emotions are a part of us and are essential to our existence. They are what make us human after all. However, our use of our emotional ...

Read Full Post

Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic water shortage issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

No one knows what is really happening in Balochistan

Last Friday’s suicide attack in Mastung was the one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan’s history.  The death toll from the attack now stands at 149 with more than 200 people wounded. Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, candidate of the newly emerged Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and a favourite of the state, was among the dead. The slain Raisani’s son was also killed in a bombing on July 29, 2011 in Mastung football stadium. Let’s take a look at recent terror attacks in Mastung, a district located about 50 miles southwest of Quetta. In early June of this year, two suicide bombers attempted ...

Read Full Post

509 Hazaras killed in five years and Pakistan is still not ready to wake up

According to a report, released in March 2018, by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), around 509 people from the Hazara community have been killed and 627 have been injured in Quetta during the last five years. The Shia and Sunni sectarian rift started in Pakistan by the then military dictator General Ziaul Haq in a bid to legitimise his martial law. Pakistan has since been facing ethnic and sect-based wars between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Members of the Hazara community are easily recognisable due to their distinct features that separate them from other communities. The banned Sunni outfits, mostly backed ...

Read Full Post

In the absence of proper governance, is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar Pakistan’s ‘saviour’?

Pakistanis are an opinionated people; from fruit vendors to domestic workers, all are as articulate in politics as any academic or political analyst. But these opinions vary, and they vary drastically on almost every major issue confronting the country. Be it Malala Yousafzai, Imran Khan or even kite flying, we hold extreme, polar opposite views on each matter.  The recent judicial activism of the Supreme Court, demonstrated by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, is no exception. There are, as usual, two sides – one fervently supports the actions of the Chief Justice, while at the other end ...

Read Full Post

Will Sadiq Sanjrani’s appointment as Senate chairman help Balochistan in any way?

Whether in the realm of natural resources or politics, Balochistan has always been a target of exploitation by politicians and other powerful forces in Pakistan. Whenever Balochistan is mentioned, it is invariably described as the least developed region of Pakistan. It is always “volatile”, “neglected” and “backward”; the region with the worst health indicators and the poorest infrastructure. It is the place where a majority of children are out of school, and there is little access to basic resources available everywhere else in the country. Nevertheless, while such problems are a fact of life for the majority of the people of Balochistan, our ...

Read Full Post

2017 proved that the ‘war’ on terror has been misdirected towards the wrong enemy all along

As we step over the threshold of one pandemonium of a year, it is evident that the global perspective is shifting, with many ‘rites of passage’ that were once the norm for transitioning from one year to the next with an outlook of optimism and hope, being replaced instead by realistic concerns over security and the need to secure borders.    Today, questions asked in hindsight and disconcerted glances exchanged in retrospect, all entail a fresh meaning. This is because as the year dissolves into its waning stretch, it is hard to ignore the events that made it, in many ...

Read Full Post