Don’t Mention Balochistan

Apr 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Uncategorized

We have written before about cases of media silence and self-censorship, and two recent pieces again raised this question in our minds, so we present it to you today for your consideration. Recent media hot topics include Raymond Davis, ZAB reference, and HEC. But the media has also been strangely silent on other issues. One of these issues is the state of human rights in Balochistan.

And editorial in The Baloch Hal, the first online Baloch newspaper, presents an excellent case for the possibility that national media is ignoring serious human rights violations in Balochistan.

Balochistan militantsThe Pakistan media has adopted double standards while covering Balochistan. This attitude has not only left the people’s problems under-reported but it has also incensed the foreign journalists and investors who wanted to learn more about the ground situation in Balochistan.

One such article that highlighted the blackout of more important issues in the Pakistani media appeared in the US journal Foreign Policy on March 31st in which the author Ahmed Rafay Alam pointed out that the death of at least 43 miners in the outskirts of Quetta was not covered by the Pakistani media. Instead, the national media was engaged in covering relatively unimportant issues only to keep the whole country ignorant about the explosive situation in the country.

The author of the Foreign Policy article wrote: “The role of the media in bringing this incident  [of miners’ death in Quetta]to public attention also deserves a look.  The near-total media blackout of this most recent incident has less to do with censorship of any form than with viewing dynamics.  Milk, soaps and mobile phones (rather than coal) are sold in Pakistani cities, and urbanites don’t care what going on in the districts. The media contents itself to whip up public emotion over issues related to “national honor” as in the cases of Raymond Davis and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, ignoring serious but less sexy issues like mine safety. Yet working conditions in Baluchistan are unlikely to improve without the media reporting on them.”

This argument was further expressed by Pakistan representative Human Rights Watch Ali Dayan Hasan in an interview with Raza Rumi for The News on Sunday.

TNS: Is there sufficient international and domestic focus on human rights situation in Balochistan?

Aftermath of attack by militants in BalochistanADH: Unfortunately there is not. The Pakistani media does not report on the brutal realities of Balochistan in any meaningful manner. Despite the fact that the province is of great strategic interest to the world, its people suffer from persistent, systemic and widespread human rights abuse both by state authorities and at the hands of non-state actors. It is time Pakistanis and the world paid attention.

Media watchers and all Pakistanis should ask if media is performing its proper role to society by focusing incessantly on allegations of ‘Sindh Card’ and conspiracy theories while the citizens are abused by militants and suffering real problems.

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  1. Cloak & Dagger: Dirty & Secret Intelligence War.

  2. Common “civilians” in Pakistan can be picked up from anywhere without any cogent reason and can be detained for months [without producing them in the Court of Law] if not years without a trace and incommunicado too. You can slap, oust, try, imprison, torture, insult and discredit them through media trial and even hang the elected representatives of the people but when the real test comes those who are entrusted with the responsibility of defending the country always show you clay feet, read and lament.

    The first thing they do after retirement is to join the Tableeghi Jamat. Whom you are trying to hoodwink? You cannot hoodwink Allah.

    Suo Motu Notice & Intelligence Agencies.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot. com/2011/04/suo-motu-notice- intelligence-agencies.html

  3. Suo Motu Notice & Intelligence Agencies.

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