As expected, most Pakistani news channels and newspapers have avoided reporting about the kidnapping of an articulate journalist [Javid Naseer Rind] because they do not want to jeopardize their own lives and economic interests by antagonizing the elements responsible for the abduction.
Saleem Shahzad, the Asia Times journalist, who was allegedly killed by the Inter-Services Intelligence, today epitomizes journalistic courage. His name is also intertwined with reporters’ extraordinary reactions in Pakistan to the murder of a fellow colleague by the country’s invisible soldiers.
Ironically, the Baloch no longer complain about this lack of representation in the national media. They don’t even insist on more coverage of their grievances in the news channels and papers. Yet, the secessionist movement is gaining momentum. A conflict which was confined to only two tehsils only four years ago – when former governor Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed – has today spread across the length and breadth of the province.
During the past nine months, I have lost six colleagues in the conflict. I spent time with all these journalists, working on stories, participating in training programs or developing source networks in the country’s largest province bordering Iran and Afghanistan.
There is renewed anger across Balochistan over the dreadful assassination of one of the most popular icons of Balochi literature and civil society, Dr. Saba Dashtiyari. A professor of Islamic studies at the University of Balochistan, the fifty-eight-year old university educator was gunned down when he was taking a walk in Quetta on Wednesday night.
Increasing Chinese influence in Balochistan is a matter of concern. Once again, the government of Balochistan and the natives of the province have been utterly snubbed in a major decision by the federal government to handover the Gwadar Port to China for operational purpose.