Malik Siraj Akbar speaks at NED"/>Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Malik Siraj Akbar offered insight into the ongoing conflict in Balochistan, Pakistan.
The previously overlooked fury in Balochistan against the mainstream media has gradually transformed into full-fledged public expression of dissatisfaction with how the national media covers the troubled province. Disgruntled young Balochs blame the media, particularly the private news channels, for allegedly building up the entire crisis in Balochistan by not objectively and completely reporting the conflict since its inception. They say neither are they pleased with the amount of coverage the country’s largest province gets in the news bulletins, talk shows and documentaries nor are they appreciative of some journalists’ pro-government depiction of the situation in Balochistan.
When she last visited Islamabad, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a Pakistani woman tell her, during a town hall-style meeting in Islamabad, that the relationship between America and Pakistan was that of an unappreciative mother-in-law (the mother-in-law of course being America). A similar analogy also applies to Islamabad’s relationship with Balochistan. To me, the Centre acts like a suspicious husband with Balochistan, always in doubt of the latter’s loyalty and fidelity.
When Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher concluded a controversial hearing of Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations on February 8 calling for the Baloch people's right to self-determination in the southwest of Pakistan by saying "this was certainly not a stunt on anybody's part," he simply meant more staggering developments had yet to come.
The landmark initiative Dana Rohrabacher has taken in support of Balochistan, together with five other Congressmen, should spur liberals in India and Afghanistan to move similar resolutions in their respective parliaments. It is for both the countries to decide to what extent they can stand by the Balochs.
Baloch parents must educate their children about two important facts as we mark the first “killed and dumped” anniversary of one of the most charismatic student leaders of our times: Who Qambar Chakar was and why he was killed. Although hundreds of brilliant young Balochs have been engulfed by the government’s ‘kill and dump operations’ in Balochistan, Qambar Chakar merits special tributes for his remarkable role in Baloch reawakening. Many say he was killed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies too young while we think they killed him too late as he had already left a visionary legacy.