Malik Siraj Akbar On The Mashky Operation | Q&A

Dec 2012
By M.A.

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In February and March 2012, there were floodgates of coverage of Balochistan after the U.S. Congress held a hearing on Balochistan; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a bill and addressed a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. calling for Balochistan’s right to self-determination and statehood.

In September, we saw the second round of massive coverage of Balochistan when the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visited Pakistan and met with the families of the missing persons, including those from Balochistan. There was a frantic reaction to the arrival of the U.N. working group in Pakistan as the Pakistani right-wing journalists and opinion leaders saw it as ‘foreign-sponsored” interference in Pakistan’s internal matters.

In October, there was the next phase of overwhelming coverage of Balochistan after former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal ended his self-imposed exile and returned to Pakistan to present his Six Points before the Supreme Court.

The problem with such inconsistent and reactionary coverage is that our media immediately gets excited about Balochistan and that excitement also fades away within days. The media begins to report on Balochistan again when some more tragedies strike there. Balochistan needs constant engagement from the national media instead of frantic coverage.

TQ: How have the Baloch in Mashkey, and elsewhere, reacted to this blackout?

MSA: Besides the ordinary people in Mashky, there is extraordinary anger among the Baloch people across Balochistan and outside Pakistan. There have been protests all over Balochistan, in Karachi and even in front of the British Parliament in London by the members of the Baloch diaspora. What is remarkably sad, but true at the same time, is the fact that the Baloch hold the Pakistani media, next to the military and security forces, responsible for not covering the operation in Balochistan. They look at the media as a collaborator in the excesses committed against them. I have never seen such amount of widespread anger among the Baloch people across the spectrum against the Pakistani media as is being vented this time against the blackout of the Mashky operation.

TQ: What needs to happen now?

MSA: The media should be provided access to the area and it should cover the operation objectively and impartially. The media owners and editors should know that a complete blackout of the operation and the overall situation in Balochistan will risk the lives of their stringers and correspondents who work on ground in Balochistan. The Baloch nationalists will blame them (although unjustifiably) as “supporters of the government” and exert pressure on these journalists for not sufficiently covering the operation. The Baloch nationalists, just like the military, are not known to have an understanding of how the media should operate. They do not fully respect the reporters’ plea that their job is only to file stories but not to decide their space, length and placement. This issue, in the past, has caused many reporters their lives. Balochistan has become an increasingly dangerous place for reporters where 24 correspondents have been killed in the past 5 years. Such an indifferent attitude of the Pakistani media will increase the problems of local journalists and compromise their personal safety.

Secondly, a blackout of the news has also forced many journalists to depend on social media for the news. It turned out that the Baloch nationalists are taking the social media for granted and they have misinformed the journalists. As I wrote in my Baloch Hal editorial, Baloch nationalists have been found sharing fake and outdated pictures, providing wrong information and distorted statistics to gain more attention and sympathies. As for the media, our job must be to independently verify the facts instead of being overwhelmed or influenced by the government (read security forces) or the opposition parties. They will try to bluff the media. In Mashky, truth has, unfortunately, become the casualty. A lot of media outlets still have the resources to dig out the truth if they now make a professional commitment to do so.

Malik Siraj Akbar is the editor-in-chief of The Baloch Hal, Balochistan’s first online English newspaper. The paper is banned in Pakistan by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.

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18 Responses to Malik Siraj Akbar On The Mashky Operation | Q&A

  1. M Ali Khan on Dec 2012 at 5:06 AM

    It is important to realise that Mehi area of Mashkay has been a BLF stronghold. The FC convoy attacked on 23-24 December by BLF got at least two soldiers killed, hence the heavy retaliation, also hence the reason why Dr Allah Nazar is on the run since Mehi is his home village. Despite the common perception of rebels hiding out in the mountains, Allah Nazar frequently visits his village knowing he won’t be caught due to varying interests of the Pak security establishment.

    One needs to remember that Allah Nazar’s BLF has proven to be the most deadliest and dangerous terrorist group in Balochistan. They have attacked unarmed civilians (Esp. ‘settlers’) with impunity, they have killed critics including National Party’s Maula Bakhsh Dashti and Naseem Jangian.

    • Omar on Jan 2013 at 4:59 AM

      If the Pakistani army pulls out of Balochistan, there will be no attacks on them. The Pakistani army came to Balochistan to terrorise innocent Baloch people. Dr Allah Nizar and his comrades are freedom fighters defending their homeland.
      There are more terrorists in Punjab than people in Balichistan, why the Pakistani army doesn’t wipe cities and villages there?

      The entire Pakistani Taliban terrorist

  2. Gazzi on Dec 2012 at 8:21 AM

    someone please solve this problem.

  3. Baloch on Dec 2012 at 10:33 AM

    M Ali Khan if it is true what you are talking about So your Pakistani media must show it that what is happening in Balochistan.

  4. Farooq Baloch on Dec 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Thank you Tanqeed for publishing this important interview and highlighting the untold story of Mashky operation. The media should play a honest role and we Balochs are unhappy with the Pakistani media.

    • Dilshod on Jan 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Who will decide if the demo is or is not anti-state? Who does this state bonleg to by the way? It is not the state of the people. It is not the state of the oppressed nations of Pakistan. The people, the oppressed nations are justified being anti-state and anti-governemnt. The Baloch and Sindhis have seen all sorts of governemt, so had the Bengalis. And we still are supposed to be ONLY anti-government. It is the STATE which either has to be aboloshed or demorcatised, and what is democracy if the oppressed are not allowed to demonstrate, and the agencies issueing threats. The worst emerges when civilians make a fetish of an anti-people state and condemn all activities as anti-state, or try to be selective: anti-state, anti-governement . This ahs not helped in past, this will not help now. I am all with the journalists and the people who dare the army-ridden body politic of this God-gifted’ country.

    • Puant on Jan 2013 at 6:28 AM

      Mr. Kambar Ali Baloch Saab writes: {{Hope all the msnsiig persons are alive and soon some day shall come home.}}Kambar SAAB ALLAH kare with you people struggle that DAY is VERY SOON otherwise, HIS DAY will be day of judgment to award/reward all good doers and bad doers.

  5. […] Courtesy: TANQEED […]

  6. Meer siarus on Jan 2013 at 6:14 AM

    M ali khan : shaeed bugti ne kaha tha pakistani media us kuthey ki tara hay jidher haddi penko udhar bonktha hay : yar ap free media ko waha bejo kud tasaweer our social media par deko me na manoo wala qissa naiy karo face the reality

  7. Kalgor on Jan 2013 at 3:49 PM

    How come some one call the freedom fighter terrorist, go and find who is terrorist, Balochistan is occupied and your army should leave Balochistan and save the rest of Pakistan which crumbling day by day, Balochistan was free country, tous Baloch Pakistan’s one ethnic majority army is terrorist, we give our 65 years to live with you but your army proved they just ethnic army of punjab who want everything under their controll, the Biggest example was Bengal now Bangladesh, once again my advice to people who really love Pakistan is tell their army to quit dreaming about Balochistan and stop further Baloch genocide.

  8. Hamza Baloch on Jan 2013 at 11:31 PM

    My Two recent Blog on Mashkay Operation:



    Mashkay Operation was against Dr Allah Nazar. Dr Allah nazar not only killed Punjabi settlers but also killed Baloch poltical leaders and activists. I am a Baloch, and I support this operation.

    • Talal BAloch on Jan 2013 at 8:23 PM

      they can see every thing ..
      they know that what happning in balochistan .
      but they are Silent
      Ho talking with then is like a talking with walls ?
      What ever they do one day will come for balochs
      And every baloch is waiting 4 this new hope and for a independent country
      there is a onli one thing to do just pray ..
      even they seen my comment they will also arrest me 🙁
      nice Artical 🙂

  9. Asfand on Jan 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Dr Allah Nazar is a terrorist, No doubt about this.. He must be brought to justice… But we must takecare the human rights of our brother living in the area(locals) + respect their dignity..

  10. Miguel on Jan 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Pakistan falls into the cateogory what the cailsapitt politcal language calls them as failed state , police state , and indded some how rogued state . currently it has descented into total chaos { this word i prefer than only chaos}.Gradually the group which calls every shot has succeded to control every aspect of the people living within its terriotoy. Media , government (its all pillars ; legislature , executive , judiciary) , manufactured public opinion which revoles around a manufactured idelogy , propganda all work together to strengthen ultra totalitarian regime.all means of suppresion and exploitation are used to maintain the status quo. violence is its favorite mean.Balochistan is in grip of insurgency for quite few years. killing , torture , disapperance of poilitical activists , intellectual and journalists , artist and poet , teachers and also children and women are routine there , even in daylight. students are murdered cold blood.Asaap , a daily paper , was closed down because Forntier Corps (F.C) put a seige around it and its worker were tortured and threatened.Where has been Media for 7 years ? As one of baloch poet put it in this way By killings our bodies , You cant kill our thoughts ; can you stoped the flowers giving out its fragrance ; if you want to kill me , then kill my soul , and hang my hopes ; if i m dead u will die too. { Atta shad}

  11. ISMAIL KHAN on Feb 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Dont worry …. What ever this blood thirsty Allah Nazar does , he has to die one day , natural or killed … Then their would be no baloch no punjabi in his grave … So will all of us … Just like bengali great leader SHEIKH MUJEEB UR REHMAN.. Not killed by Punjabi but hahha his own Mukti bani bengali commanders …GOD bless you balochs … Inshallah Islam will revive one day again and we all will see no baloch no punjabi no pathan and no sindhi …

  12. […] Front (B.L.F.), belongs to the same district where he has been resisting Pakistani military’s unlawful and extrajudicial actions in the recent past. Dr. Nazar calls for a free Balochistan and enjoys tremendous influence and […]

  13. […] Front (B.L.F.), belongs to the same district where he has been resisting Pakistani military’s unlawful and extrajudicial actions in the recent past. Dr. Nazar calls for a free Balochistan and enjoys tremendous influence and […]

  14. Hammal Gwadari on Aug 2015 at 4:35 AM

    to stop this bloodshed.. UN and USA Should carryout the selfdetermination in Baluchistan …this must come to end..

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