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 interestsays 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?

‘Learn your lesson, identify the safe areas and play there…’

Saleem Shehzad - facebook page photo

Just posted to my beena-issues yahoogroup:

Uploaded to my blog: HRCP URGENT APPEAL for Muzaffar Bhutto, Gen. Secy Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz.

Another disappearance on Sunday didn’t end well. I felt sick hearing the news that Saleem Shehzad, the Asia Times correspondent who had gone ‘missing’ from Islamabad, was found dead, with torture marks on his body. As I write this, his body, exhumed from a hurriedly dug grave at the behest of a judge, was being sent for a second autopsy to establish the cause of death. Continue reading

Aur Nikle.nge Ushhaq ke Qafley – my documentary film on Dr Sarwar and DSF

Ok, I finally uploaded the 30 min film on Democratic Students’ Association to the web Aur Nikle.nge Ushhaq ke Qafley (There Will be More Caravans of Passion…) that I produced, directed by Sharjil Baloch. It’s on Youtube (Part 1 and Part 2) as well as on the Dr Sarwar blog.

‘And there shall be more caravans of passion…’

Title for documentary 'Aur nikleiN Ge Ushhaq ke Qafley' - design by K.B. Abro

Several items uploaded to the Dr Sarwar blog over the last month:

1. Learning from history in an age of bombs
– my article based on research done for the 30-min documentary on the 1953 student movement directed by Sharjil Baloch, that I produced (we are making some final changes after which it will be available for distribution upon request).

2. Articles specially written for the Jan 9, 2010 Event Book on the 1953 student movement:
Keep the fire burning – End Note by Zakia Sarwar
Continuing Stories: Social Action and Change – by Ruqaiya Hasan
The High School Students’ Association and my rite of passage – by Ghazi Salahuddin

3. Scans of the Event Book, Jan 9, 2010 – Copies available upon request

‘Looking back to look forward’ – amazing response to an uplifting event

Slightly revised version of what was originally posted to the Dr Sarwar blog earlier – more photos at this web album:

Rahat Kazmi introducing speakers - photo by Aliya Nisar

What an amazing response to ‘Looking Back to Look Forward – Celebrating the 1953 Student Movement’. (‘…we look back not to revel in nostalgia, WE LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD,’ said veteran journalist Eric Rahim in an email while we were conceptualising the event).

We didn’t think we’d be able to fill the 1000-seater hall. Everyone said “be happy if 500 people turn up”. The hall was FULL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers and participants – students and youngsters from Sindh Awami Sangat (huge team of volunteers and a crowded bus-load of participants), Szabist University, Ziauddin Medical College, PECHS Girls’ School (thanks to Seema Malik, 150 students who formed the heart of the audience and kept up the tempo with their youthful energy), and other groups.

Naushaba Zuberi slams the A.T.Naqvi Tower and demands one for the Jan 1953 martyrs. Photo by Sakhawat Ali

View of the audience with PECHS Girls School students - photo Aliya Nisar

“It’s not just the event, it’s the timing of the event that’s important,” said Hiba Ali Raza, one of the student volunteers. “At a time when things look so bleak, and people are so depressed, this was very significant”.

Many had come expecting the usual 200-300 crowd of old lefties with a sprinkling of the young ones. Instead, we had a hall full of young people, boys and girls, students and young professionals who listened attentively to the speakers – Continue reading

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