Stories about Quetta

Would the PPP leaders care to explain why people in Thar are dying?

It was revealed in the second week of October that around 300,000 bottles of mineral water – meant for the drought victims in Thar – expired in a government warehouse without ever reaching the masses. Earlier this year, wheat supplies for the Thar victims faced the same fate. At least 31 lives were lost in October and 234 more, mostly children, in the preceding episodes. A report revealed that the district administration of Thar was in the hands of Makhdoom Amin Fahim’s son earlier this year. Fahim happens to be the senior vice-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party. So is PPP not responsible for the Thar mismanagement? An inquiry commission formed ...

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I was hopeful today…

It was 6am when my alarm went off. I woke up to it, got off my bed, performed wuzu and then offered my prayers. At 6:30am, as usual, I decided to go out for a refreshing morning walk. It seemed like an ordinary morning – just like any other day. Whilst on my walk, my phone beeped informing me that I had received a text message from a friend of mine. The message greeted me “good morning” and read: “If you fail to achieve your dreams, change your ways but not your principles, as trees change their leaves, not their roots.” Instantly, a smile ...

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The brilliant minds of our insurgents

As Zarb-e-Azb moves towards a ground offensive in Miranshah, bomb disposal units are assigned the daunting task of safely detonating troves of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) precariously stacked in numerous factories scattered across town. A junior military officer, part of one such unit, reflected on a mission he had successfully carried out earlier in the day. Referring to the IED composition, he said, “They (TTP) are damn experts, awesome work. Brilliant minds how they use local materials urea and the likes to make IEDs, awesome. I wish I could get trained by them”. Simply by an apt assessment of the adversary’s skill set, in this case ...

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No need to run for your lives, there is no tsunami coming our way

Hate me if you will, and I hate the sound of the words myself, but I have to say it. All the hype about Karachi being wiped off the face off the earth as a result of an earthquake measuring seven to eight on the Richter scale causing a tsunami is a big lie. Why do I say this, when the media is all abuzz with reports of a Tsunami warning simulation carried out under United Nations aegis and participated in by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)? Because if a seven to eight strength earthquake radiates its waves to Karachi, from the Makran Trench, Karachi would have been ...

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Balochistan: Self-inflicted misery?

My fondest childhood memories are of rolling down the landscaped gardens of the rest-house located beside the Quaid-e-Azam’s residency in Ziarat. The undulating open space spotted with the frosted looking juniper trees provided an ideal environment for the equally inviting wooden dens; and the fresh dew on the grass under the clear blue sky was then so tempting for us to feel. Visiting these dream homes used to be the highlight of our summer vacations. The short picnics to Hanna Lake, Ziarat and Wali Tangi were enriching and peaceful to say the least. Quetta, I should say, was one of the most ...

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Balochistan, a tale of singular narratives

My fellow journalist, Irshad Ahmed Mastoi Baloch, was killed in broad daylight at his office in Quetta. He was one, of few, brave journalists who would criticise the establishment’s unjust policies towards Balochistan. His fellow trainee reporter, Abdul Ghulam Rasool, and a serving accountant, Mohammed Younus, also lost their lives in the incident. I cannot believe or understand how an incident of this magnitude could have occurred in a sovereign, democratic country. He was doing his job, work that he was hired to do and obviously doing well. But he was, they were all, killed for merely performing their professional obligations. The ...

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Parkour boys of Quetta: Fighting fear… like a boss

I didn’t really know what parkour was, until I came across a recent article about some boys from Quetta’s Hazara town who practise this activity. I had come across references to free running (a more acrobatic version of parkour) on television previously, but since I’m the kind of old soul who believes that doing anything which might result in a serious injury is a cry for attention, I never gave it any. It had an aura of belonging to the seedy world of graffiti, tattoos, drugs and gangs and I am, as I mentioned earlier, an old soul. After reading the article and watching ...

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New Quetta Super Sharjah Hotel: The dhaba monopolising the chai, paratha market!

Did you know that there is a chai ka dhaba (tea cafe) in Karachi that has four branches in one of the most affluent parts of the city? Similarly, were you aware of the fact that this said cafe has only three items on its menu and it operates from 6:30 in the morning till late in the night? No? Well then, don’t be disappointed; I didn’t know these facts either. In fact, there was a lot more I didn’t know about this peculiar cafe, until I decided to investigate and find out more. Photo: Saadia Tariq Almost every other morning, as I ...

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Lessons from Abbas Town: Stick together, whether you are Shia or Sunni

In a town where Shias and Sunnis had lived together peacefully for years, worshipped just down the street from one another, played cricket and often sat together in the evenings to chat, a sign survived amongst the rubble which read in Urdu, “A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim.” It symbolised the brotherhood of the town’s Shias and Sunnis. It was such a town in Karachi, home to outspoken women and communal harmony that was struck by terror one year ago today. “It looks like Israel bombarded Palestine,” exclaimed one man from Abbas Town as residents had approached Hamid Mir with one heart-wrenching account ...

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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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