Daily Asaap closed for good. WHY?


All national and international press clubs and organizations that work for the rights of journalists and believe in freedom of speech are requested to take immediate notice of Daily Asaap’s closure.
“Asaap – the most vocal Urdu language newspaper of Balochistan” has announced to shut down its publications for good. Why?

The following “Media Watch” published on the front page of Daily Asaap, dated 18th August 2009, announces its closure and highlights reasons behind this decision: (Translated from Urdu to English by Mr. Malik Siraj Akbar)

“With absolute pain and sorrow, we wish to inform the respected readers of Asaap and the Baloch people that our office in Quetta has been under siege by the Frontier Corps (FC) and security forces for the past two weeks. These forces were busy in humiliating every visitor and staff member who came to our office. Asaap is the only newspaper [in Pakistan ] where security forces have been deployed. These forces are engaged in regular search and harassment of staff members and visitors.

“Since the government decided to move a tank outside the Asaap offices, it has remarkably worsened the situation. Due to this, all of our staff members are panicked and unable to concentrate on their professional responsibilities. Everyone knows that Asaap began its publication amid very unfavorable circumstances. Since the outset, the paper has stood on a clear policy about Baloch and Balochistan.

“We are committed to a very holy mission which is rooted in the Baloch land. We continued our journey despite hardships and tried to assure the government that we did not work contrary to the media laws. We simply wanted to inform the rulers of the country and the State institutions about the actual Baloch demands and the justification for making such demands. Unabated injustices, repeated military operations, the murder of thousands of Balochs have coaxed the Balochs to rethink that they are not the citizens of this country and they do not enjoy the status of equal citizens. Likewise, we wanted to remind the Balochs that they, unlike other nationalities, were not getting equal political, social, economic and cultural rights in Pakistan .

“Instead of making an attempt to comprehend the Baloch demands, the ruling elite clearly sent us a defiant message indicating that our policy and demands were unacceptable and unbearable to them.

“Earlier this year, an attempt was made on the life of Waja Jan Mohammad Dashti, the [editor in-] chief of Daily Asaap, in order to kill him. Worst still, unsuccessful efforts were made to put the blame of the assault on Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Garib Nawaz Tehreek. Jan Dashti and his friends surely know which state institutions were actually behind this attack. We had made it clear to the government that we fully abided by all media laws. However, a discriminatory attitude towards Asaap, despite our adherence to all state laws, implicitly confirmed that the state was punishing us only for being a Baloch-friendly newspaper.

“For a long time, the powerful quarters in the country have been engaged in conspiracies against Asaap, Jan Mohammad Dashti and Waja Naseer Dashti. Now, the situation is becoming more troublesome. Under the umbrella of a clear conspiracy, pressure is being mounted against us, out office is being “guarded” by the security forces, staff members being searched and threats being hurled. Since Balochistan is undergoing a military operation right now, the security forces consider every ill-mannered action as justified. They are above the law and not answerable to anyone.

“Our readers fully know how Baloch leaders, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Balach Marri, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Sher Mohmmad Baloch and Lala Munir Baloch, were brutally killed. Thousands of known and unknown Baloch women, children and youth have been subjected to “enforced disappearances”. A similar number is languishing inside torture cells with no clue about their well being.

“At such a situation, Daily Asaap is left with two options either to temporarily or permanently shut its publication or to prepare for clashes between the security forces and the staff members of the newspaper. For Asaap, the personal safety of all its staff members, majority of whom are young people, is extremely important. We want these young staff members to remain healthy and respected. We are of the opinion that the lives of these staff members would be further jeopardized in case of uninterrupted publication of Asaap. They face serious threats to their lives. There is the great possibility of physically harming the staff members of this newspaper, implicating them in false cases and applying various other harassment tactics against them.

“Hence, Asaap has no options left but to decide to shut its publication in order to ensure the safety of its own workers. Therefore, the Asaap management has decided that the newspaper will not be published from Quetta and Turbat from tomorrow and the paper will not be delivered to our valued readers tomorrow morning. We are taking this decision with great pain. We are sure our readers will understand the hardships we are facing. Our insistence to carry on with the publication of the newspaper may lead to some serious problems for our staff members. We are thankful to all our readers who gave us love and respect throughout this period. We are thankful to all our staff members who even did not care about their personal safety while working at this newspaper. Asaap is being strangulated. We know with the closure of this newspaper, the voices of Baloch people will not be heard in the print media as loudly as was done in the past. This may have a slightly negative impact on the Baloch movement. However, we are confident that that even after Asaap, the Baloch movement will continue its journey towards its ultimate destination.”

For more details please visit Mr. Malik Siraj Akbar’s online blog, Bye bye Asaap.

1 Comment

Filed under Reports, Write-up

One response to “Daily Asaap closed for good. WHY?

  1. habatan

    hi,siraj

    Great work form your side…….

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