The importance of celebrating Malala

Propagandists floated this falsely captioned photo, trying to link Malala with Salman Rushdie (it's actually EU President Martin Scholl) and Taslima Nasreen (who wasn't even granted a meeting with Malala)

Propagandists floated this falsely captioned photo, trying to link Malala with Salman Rushdie (it’s actually EU President Martin Schulz) and Taslima Nasreen (who complained later in her blog about how religious Malala is, and how Taslima was not being granted a meeting with her)

I was invited to speak at an event in the Boston area recently titled “Celebrating Malala”. I talked about the hostile propaganda against her in her home country Pakistan, and the need to support her regardless of misgivings about how ‘the west’ or others are ‘using’ her. Scroll down to see the slides I shared with my presentation. Below, the report I sent to The News, reproduced below with additional links:

BOSTON: Several Pakistani professional and community organisations based in New England hosted an event on Saturday night titled “Celebrate Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai”.

It was thanks to Malala that these organisations joined hands for the first time to organise an event, noted Dr Khalil Khatri, a Sindh Medical College graduate and Rotarian who conducted the event wearing a natty ajrak bow-tie. Continue reading

The Kidnapping of Another Baloch Journalist | Baloch Hal editorial

Since the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has blocked the website Baloch Hal in Pakistan, here’s Malik Siraj Akbar’s editorial that Pakistanis should have access to:

The Kidnapping of Another Baloch Journalist

Javid Naseer Rind, the former Deputy Editor of Daily Tawar, a leading anti-government Balochnewspaper published in Urdu language, was kidnapped on Saturday by unidentified people. Friends and family members of Mr. Rind, who is a widely respectednewspaper columnist and a reporter, have raised fingers at the state intelligence agencies for whisking him away. He was picked up in Laseba District of Balochistan along with another relative of his Abdul Samad Baloch. Since then the whereabouts of the Baloch journalist are unknown. Continue reading

Baloch Hal Editorial: People’s Right to Know What Happened in Kharotabad

One of the injured women raises her hand before being silenced forever

Once again, an important editorial from Baloch Hal online daily, being reproduced here because the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has since November 2010 blocked the Baloch Hal website in Pakistan

Editorial: People’s Right to Know What Happened in Kharotabad

The Kharotabad tragedy was simply as tragic as tragedy can be.  The brutal killing of Chechen nationals, mainly women, including a pregnant lady, on May 27th left us all totally speechless as the nation watched on TV the extremely perturbing imagines of the victims of shooting  allegedly by the police and the Frontier Corps.

Tragedy aside, we witnessed a rare but an encouraging development for which the government of Balochistan must be commended. The investigations into the incdent, no matter how defective and imperfect, were successfully completed. Continue reading

A much needed Special Report on Balochistan…

Malik Siraj Akbar: Let’s not shut the doors

The News on Sunday (Pakistan’s best weekly English language paper) took an unprecedented and much needed look at how the media in Pakistan is not covering Balochistan issues in its Special Report this week (this link has the entire report). It includes
Editorial – Outside the province, Balochistan is as neglected. There is no demand for an investigation for all bad news. Balochistan is not on newspeople’s agenda.
Shooting the messenger – Naziha Syed Ali on the risks journalists in Balochistan live with
Cautious and selective – Why is the otherwise hysterical electronic media unusually silent? By Nabeel Arshed
Alia Amirali“The initiative has to come from the centre” – Is it still possible to reach out to the radical nationalist elements and salvage the situation? Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor Baloch Hal believes it is (my interview).
“The mainstream media is … defending the national interest” says Alia Amirali, a researcher on the Baloch National Movement and a lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, in an interview with Farah Zia (Read Alia Amirali’s article: “After Habib Jalib” – Balochistan appears in the media only after death and destruction – in The News on Sunday, July 25, 2010) And more…
Here is the link to the BBC Urdu report “Punjab Balochistan ke Barey mein Kitna Janta Hai” by Sharjil Baloch (March 1, 2011) that I refer to in my article, which is also the basis for another article in this special report, by Aoun Sahi, ‘Wana and Waziristan in Balochistan?

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad

Below is the original, unabridged version of the article published in The News, Jun 9, 2011, with the somewhat misleading heading Pakistan’s secular martyrs (not all those killed for defending the values discussed in the article were ‘secular’).

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Beena Sarwar

The murder of professor Saba Dashtiyari in Quetta last week, coming on the heels the killing of of investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad, is yet another sign of an ongoing ‘genocide’ of progressive Pakistani intellectuals and activists.

‘Waja’: Prof. Saba Dashtiary, Balochistan University


‘Genocide’ generally means the deliberate destruction of an ethnic group or tribe. In this context, it applies to the tribe of Pakistanis who have publicly proclaimed or implicitly practiced the enlightenment agenda of freedom of conscience. They may have very different, even opposing, political views but they are people who are engaged knowingly or unknowingly with spreading ‘enlightenment’ values. Continue reading

Obituary: The Martyred Professor

Prof. Saba Dashtiyari giving an interview. Photo courtesy Homayoon Mobaraki

From the Baloch Hal. Reproducing here as PTA has blocked the website in Pakistan

Obituary: The Martyred Professor

By Malik Siraj Akbar

I do no know any young Baloch of my generation who was not keen to meet Professor Saba Dashtiyari during his early school days. As a school student in Panjgur, my hometown, I first heard about Saba, who was brutally shot dead on Wednesday night in Quetta where he was among the very few remaining brave men who would still take a walk on Sariab Road in spite of serious law and order problems confronting the provincial capital.
As young kids, we had heard charming stories about a Baloch professor who was an atheist but, ironically, taught theology and Islamic studies at the University of Balochistan. Another thing that fascinated us about him was the narrative that he spent most of his salary on the promotion of Balochi language academies and preparation of Balochi text books. Continue reading

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