Friday’s suicide bombing outside the residence of Mir Shafiq Mengal, the son of a former interim chief minister, which killed at least fifteen people and injured thirty others, leaves us with absolutely murky prospects of peace in Balochistan in the upcoming year 2012. While for the rest of the country it was a routine bomb blast, historians and experts on Balochistan must bookmark today’s newspaper pages for future references.
Every year on this momentous day, 60-year old retired bank employee Abdul Qadeer Baloch organises special events in Balochistan capital, Quetta, to mark the international human rights day. He has organised, for instance, hunger strike camps and convened press conferences to raise the voices of the families of the disappeared Baloch political activists, students and professionals.
Faisal always called himself Faisal Baloch. People called him Faisal Mengal. We will value the personal wish of the departed soul and address him with the name of his choice. There were three impressions Faisal always left behind for people who met him for the first time. He was extremely handsome. He was very well dressed. And, he was well-read. Anyone who met him would surely acknowledge these three of his qualities.
The gory list of Baloch journalists being brutally killed presumably by the Pakistani intelligence agencies continues to increase with the latest brutal murder of Javed Naseer Rind. A former deputy editor of Urdu-language newspaper, Daily Tawar, and an articulate columnist, Rind was indeed a smart and professional journalist whose services and bold columns will be missed by his readers.
I would like to humbly and respectfully thank the government of the United States of America for granting me asylum in this country where I am sure I will not be judged “by the color of… skin but the content of … character.”
Baluchistan is a deadly province for correspondents, where state and non-state actors violently interfere in journalists' professional work, with the aim of controlling how they and their enemies are portrayed in the media.