Category Archives: Interviews and Articles

Why Pakistan should not celebrate Defence Day: The story of a journalist in exile who took on the military

Taha Siddiqui

Paris: Almost a year ago, I was sitting in my Islamabad news bureau, working on some stories while monitoring local Pakistani news on television when my attention was drawn to a promotional video on one of the channels. The video produced by the Pakistan Army’s media wing, the ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) was being broadcast in connection to the upcoming Defence Day (6 September), a day to remember the India-Pakistan war of 1965. The ISPR had used a video clip of the then military dictator General Ayub Khan where he said something to the effect of “…the Indians do not know who they have challenged to war…” The promotional video then went on to imply how Pakistan thwarted this aggression and surprise attack from India.

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Baloch Leader: Trump Speaks A Language Pakistan Can Understand

Hyrbyair Marri, the fifth son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a former national leader and head of one of the largest Baloch tribes in Pakistan, was elected in 1996 to the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan and appointed minister but was later forced to flee Pakistan for Great Britain. Accused of leading the Balochistan Liberation Army — which he denies — Marri was charged and later acquitted of terrorism charges in the U.K. Today, he helms the Free Balochistan Movement, a pro-freedom political party.

By Karlos Zurutuza

OZY sat down with Marri to discuss Pakistani and world politics. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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The case of missing persons in Balochistan

Masood Hameed

Salma Bibi, a mother of four, sits in her cramped house on Qambrani Road in Sariab area of Quetta. Her family shares the premises, which has no sanitation facilities or drinking water, with three of her brothers-in-law and their children. Her husband is an auto mechanic who was recently diagnosed with cancer but, she says, they have no money to take him for his treatment. This, however, is not what keeps her up at night.

On October 30, 2017, Salma’s 16-year-old son Bebarg and 17-year-old nephew Shameer were on their way to Government Degree College, Quetta, when armed men in plain clothes arrived in three vehicles and whisked them away. Both teenagers were first-year students.

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Siraj Raisani – the patriot or a tyrant?

Tehreek e Nifaz-e-Aman was widely attributed to Siraj Raisani, of which he reportedly himself had also bloated about in many tribal meetings

Miran Mazar – Chief Editor TBP

On a cold night of a January, armed men barged into house in a cul-de-sec and within minutes an elderly man was taken out of the house. He was forced onto his knees and a bullet was fired in his temple. The old man dropped on his face and blood gushed onto his beard. No questions were asked and the elderly man was not told any of his crimes. The cold summary execution lasted for few minutes only. The armed men jumped back into their vehicles and disappeared in the dead of night, leaving behind only the thick smoke of SUVs, a bleeding body and a family wretched for eternity.

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In Balochistan, Dying Hopes for Peace

Increasing attacks by the Islamic State in Balochistan are connected to Pakistan’s failed strategy of encouraging and using Islamist militants to crush Baloch rebels and separatists.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Mr. Akbar is a journalist from Balochistan.

On Friday, several hundred tribesmen and students from religious seminaries gathered at a public meeting in Mastung, a town in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, to hear Siraj Raisani, a 55-year-old politician from the Balochistan Awami Party.

As he appeared on stage wearing dark sunglasses, the crowd cheered, whistled and raised their hands, in a gesture affirming their loyalty to him. “O! Brave people of Balochistan!” said Mr. Raisani, who was known and feared for his strong ties to the Pakistani military. Before he could utter a second sentence, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the stage. The explosion killed Mr. Raisani and 149 of his supporters, and injured 186 others.

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Violent Extremist or Political Candidate? In Pakistan Election, You Can Be Both

Aurangzeb Farooqi, a leader of a radical group called Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat

KARACHI, Pakistan — Aurangzeb Farooqi is a leader of a political party that is banned in Pakistan for espousing sectarian violence. He faces charges of spreading religious hatred that was linked to the murders of several Shiite activists.

He is also a candidate for national political office, running with the blessing of Pakistani courts.

Mr. Farooqi is among several candidates with ties to Islamist extremist groups who were the subject of last-ditch petitions by activists seeking to bar them from contesting elections this month. An election tribunal threw out those petitions last month, claiming there were not enough valid complaints to justify barring the candidates.

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Mr. Bengai makes a case for Balochistan

Balochistan cries for justice. The province has, for seventy years, suffered a situation where the country has taken much from and given little to it. That the province can be rich in natural resources and yet abjectly poor is a testimony to the long years of neglect and exploitation. It is a saga of resource transfer on a massive scale, a saga of colonial style political and economic management. From the epilogue of Dr Bengali’s ‘A cry for justice.’

BY ABDULLAH NIAZI

Dr Kaiser Bengali is a man that needs little if any introduction. One of Pakistan’s preeminent economist, he has built an international reputation that breeds little argument. Thoughtful and precise in his insights, his no nonsense approach to problems and development makes him someone that people look to for clarity on muddled subjects. In the past he has remained advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Planning and Development. He was also the master architect behind the Benazir Income Support Programme, designing the project and serving as its first head.

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