Balochistan: Pakistani state crackdown on Baloch Bookshop owners


Books on Balochistan confiscated by pakistan

Is it a crime to write about Baloch history and geography? Major Majeed Baloch

Balochistan: Pakistani police raided Bookshops and CDs Shops in district Gwadar of Balochistan and arrested their owners for buying and selling “Waae Watan Hoshken Daar” written by Balochi language’s renowned poet Major Majeed Baloch and other books on Balochistan on Wednesday 2 April 2014.

Four people have been arrested from Kech and Gwadar districts after discovery of anti-State literatures,” a security official said.

 بلوچستان: کتابوں کی دکانوں پر چھاپے، مقدمہ درج

The two shop keeps arrested from Gwadar were identified as Khuda Bakhsh and Javed Fiaz.

A local journalist Behram Baloch told BBC Urdu that the authorities did not issue any notification to ban this book.

According BBC an effected bookseller from Gwadar said that he did not have Major Majeed Baloch’s book in his shop, however, the police confiscated books about history of Baloch and Balochistan and they seized books include a famous book ‘History of Balochistan’ by Lala Huto Ram and ‘Baloch’ by Dr. Shah Mohammad Marri Baloch.

It is worth mentioning here that “History of Balochistan” written by Rao Bahadur Huto Ram and was first published  in 1907, when the state of Pakistan did not existed.

Police sources said in the FIR against the book vendors only “Waae Watan Hoshken Daar” (it means “I love my country despite having nothing”) is mentioned and the writer of this book Major Majeed has been living in Muscat since 40 years.

Talking to BBC he said, “Waae Watan Hoshken Daar ‘ mean ‘a wood of my country [Balochistan] is more than anything for us.” Reacting about the confiscating his book he said, “You read this book it is about Baloch history, Baloch traditions, and it is about war in Balochistan. This is a history book and it is beyond my understanding why this book is being banned?”

He expressed astonishment on the behavior of state [Pakistan] and said, “I certainly wrote about human rights violation in Balochistan in my book but now-a-days every newspaper contains such news. Apart of that the book is about Balochistan’s history. Is it a crime to write about Baloch history and geography?”

Gwadar District Police Officer Pervez Khan said, “I still have not seen the whole book but reportedly page 52 and 55 of this book contain some paragraphs which directly incite people against the state and the Army.”

He said, “The government has not banned any material but selling and buying anti- Pakistan items are prohibited by law. Under this law action has been taken against CD and booksellers.”

The police said in some pages there are provoking statements and poetry against Pakistan Army and the country. Some CDs were discovered from the shop in which there are several songs supporting Baloch militants. The title of the song was Nadar-e-Sarmachar, I love the militants.

The cases were registered under section 123, 124, 109 Pakistan Panel Code (PPC). The clauses pertain to treason charges.

The provincial information minister, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal told the BBC that if a book has been banned by the government and it is kept in any shop then the shop owner should know about it, but the if the government do not put any restriction on a book and it is kept and sold, then it is not the fault of the bookseller, in which case no action will be taken against them.

Meanwhile sources confirmed that Pakistani security forces raided Al Badar Bookshop and news agency and seized a number of books on Balochistan and the Baloch people. The Pakistani forces also arrested Khuda Bakhsh, a salesman at the bookshop.

District Police Officer Pervez Umrani told Dawn, “Police raided the bookshop after receiving information about objectionable books and other material kept there.

On 13 January, the Pakistnai security forces had raided Atta Shad Degree college in Turbat and confiscated books including works by Bertrand Russell, biographies of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara, a history of Balochistan by Meer Gul Khan Naseer, poetry books of famous poets like Ata Shad – whom Turbat’s only college is named after – Kareem Dashti and Gholam Hossain Shohaz, literary magazines such as ‘Mahtak Balochi’, ‘Mahtak Sangat’, ‘Mahtak Sechkan’, ‘Sangar’, ‘zrumbish’ and much more. Course books on Balochi grammar and literature were also labelled as ‘anti-Pakistani’ because reading and teaching Balochi is considered anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistani by the forces of occupation in Balochistan.

On January 8, 2014, the FC raided Delta English Language Centre in Turbat and claimed to have recovered anti-Pakistan literature and arrested a large number of students, mostly under 20 years of age, on charges of keeping anti-state material.

Earlier on 17 March Pakistani security forces raided a Karwaan English Language Centre at Kosh Kalat area of Turbat town in Balochistan and abducted at least six teacher and three students.

The abducted teachers were named as Abdul Salam, Jameel, Muheeb, Meeran, Kalamullah and Siraaj whereas the students have been identified as Muqeeb, Waheed and Jameed.

On 2nd April FC and police raided and sealed two bookshops in Turbat and arrested two booksellers.

Similar raids were carried out in on educational institutes in Buleda, Quetta and Khuzdar area of Balochistan where several students were arrested and disappeared.



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