After years of intentional negligence, Pakistani media has come up with a deluge of reports and analyses over Balochistan. Why Balochistan matters now?
This rush for reports and analyses is not on humanitarian basis. Neither is it a renaissance nor an awakening of souls of intelligentsia, nor a new era in freedom of media in the Holy Land. Rather, it is a new battle front of distortion. It is an effort to feed a Pakistani perspective to international community that has started observing things in the battlefield of Balochistan.
Intentional or under duress, Paki media suddenly felt that it lagged much behind in reporting over Balochistan. They felt that they were replaced by Baloch media that is feeding the world its perspective over the crisis. It’s a war over perspectives. Currently it seems that international media toes the line of Baloch media. One of the prime examples is the article written by Declan Walsh in Guardian, Pakistan Secret Dirty War in Balochistan.
Srilankan guardian published detail report over missing persons and crisis in Balochistan that extensively quoted Baloch writers and media reports. One of the reports titled, INSIDE STORY: Baloch Political prisoner, presents detail reports over missing persons and ISI custodial killings of Baloch Political prisoners.
Amnesty international have also written several reports over human rights violation in Baluchistan. PAKISTAN: BALOCHISTAN ATROCITIES CONTINUE TO RISE
Unlike past, this time it was the Baloch perspective that was being highlighted by international media. These reports severally criticized Pakistani media blackout over Balochistan. Foreign Policy, a journal of international relations, has taken a strong stand over blackout in Pakistani media on Balochistan issue. Ahmed Rafay Alam in his article, Ignoring Balochistan, terms media reportage over Balochistan as “total black out”.
An Editorial in Baloch Hal, Is Balochistan a Test For Pakistani Editors? A reconciliatory online newspaper artfully summarizes this blackout scenario. “The discriminatory attitude of the Pakistani national media towards the unfolding developments in Balochistan has now begun to be felt by the rest of the international media organizations. There is a growing realization and confession on the part of the objective media representatives that the national media is deliberately involved in a blackout of the coverage of issues pertaining to Balochistan. The media’s refusal to extensively cover the government’s “kill and dump policy” has startled everyone.”
Have these reports of brutalities in international media shaken the souls of Pakistani journalists and filled them with sympathetic attitude towards Baloch’s sufferings? Unfortunately the answer is “no”. Rather, they have shaken the Pakistani doctors of counterinsurgency. They have realized that things in the field of media are moving in the opposite direction. The black-out is a failure. It has left a space to be covered by handful and poorly managed Baloch Media that has reported to world its perspective over the issue while Pakistani media was in an intentional sleep.
Being in a disadvantage situation, Pakistani media has adopted an Orwellian campaign of distortion. The great doctors of negation and distortion have been let loose to produce volumes of reports that present a Pakistani perspective over the issue. It means every search on Balochistan should result in bringing out Pakistani media reports, not that of radical Baloch media. Pakistani media must be the main source of research in the international press.
The campaign has already started. Less in a month Dawn has published scores of articles and editorial on Balochistan. The similar pattern applied in articles goes on like this: that “There is low scale insurgency striving for “greater autonomy”, extremism is on rise in Balochistan, home to Taliban”, that “NATO Tanker being torched with picture Baloch insurgents on the other side”, that “Targeted killings of ethnic Punjabi settler and teachers”.
Thus the deliberate avoiding of the somber picture of custodial killing, and increasing law and disorder situation that calls for more security measures. This presents a confusing picture by diverting attention from Baloch war of freedom.
An article published on 25/04/2011, The Crucial Province, presents a similar picture by observing all main features mentioned above shows how media war been set off against Baloch freedom movement. Concluding her article Huma Yousif writes, “Rather than dwell on geopolitics and foreign policy, Pakistanis and Pakistan observers alike should emphasize the appalling state of human rights in the province, and demand that the government strengthen the law-enforcement infrastructure. Improved security is a prerequisite for political dialogue, which in turn is essential for the Pakistani state’s success in all the above-mentioned entanglements. Without coherent and consistent pressure for action, we cannot expect change.” In the disguise of human rights abuses she calls for strengthening the law enforcement structure in the province. It means giving more power to security forces to kill Baloch. What an irony!
Malik Siraj Akbar’s article, A Lasting Solution for Balochistan, published on DAWN on 25-04-2011 carries a picture of a burnt tanker with smoke rising while security forces standing nearby in Chaman. Although the crisis in Balochistan arises from Baloch National Question, the picture is of an incident occurred in Chaman. A thorough search of news report on Balochistan published on DawnNews shows that the news paper always gives a picture of burnt NATO Tanker to give an air that Baloch struggle is closely related to that of Taliban terrorists.
One of its editorials, Balochistan Violence” Dawn puts it in this way, “For several years now, Balochistan has witnessed much violence with certain groups fomenting trouble in their pursuit of a strong nationalist agenda. These groups have often resorted to non-peaceful tactics to further their cause. A number of recent incidents indicate, however, that violence as a result of criminality is also on the rise, riding perhaps on the back of the nationalist movement or as a consequence of its nature. A week ago, a multi-party conference called for a strike against the increasing number of cases of kidnapping and robberies in the province — incidents that appear to have few political dimensions and little to do with nationalist goals. In fact, there are numerous instances of killing and extortion that can only be termed criminal, and not political, acts.”
Read these phrases and words closely, orchestrated to give an musical impact to make you believe that these “non-peaceful tactics to further their cause”,” violence with certain groups fomenting trouble”,
“a result of criminality is also on the rise, riding perhaps on the back of the nationalist movement”” are the cause of all anomalies faced by Pakistani universe. This is a great campaign of distortion and negation carried on by great loyal doctors of propaganda. This is purely an Orwellian approach.
On 25-04-2011 another article published on Balochistan in The Express Tribune has an interesting conclusion. The article,” Balochistan what needs to be done”, by a former ambassador concludes, “Finally, the issue of the missing persons has to be addressed. It is unconscionable for the state, whatever the peril, to deny a citizen a trial in court, regardless of the severity of his crime. On the other hand, those indulging in wanton acts of murder for a cause that has as its foremost objective Pakistan’s demise, cannot be allowed to succeed. We must engage the nationalists in negotiations, not because they are strong, but because we are stronger.” He regards an organized guerrilla war “wanton acts of murder” and end with a jingoistic comment that “we are stronger”. It also mixes up everything, creating a riddle.
There are numerous reports and articles following the same line. They regard a pure political issue an issue of law and security order. Such a situation demands more police, FC and military involvement. For international community, they want to present a picture of situation in Balochistan where nothing is clear, a sense of confusion over all issues. The issue in Balochistan is Baloch national question.
It is a guerrilla war waged by Baloch in mountains that has unnerved Pakistan military establishment that considers Balochistan a strategic location and a land full of resources to be exploited for the growth of its bludgeoning Military Inc. it is the military economy that army wants to protect. For this it has abducted 13 thousands Baloch, most of them believed to be killed and vaporized in dark dungeons.
Frustrated over failure of Policy of intentional negligence and media black-out that was replaced by Baloch Media to feed international media news about Balochistan in such a scenario, Pakistani military establishment seems to have signaled media to end a defunct policy. Very recently the policy has been changed from blackout to a deluge of distortion, negation and confusion of situation in Balochistan. This deluge of information aims at countering Baloch media as sole source of information over Balochistan. The media front in counterinsurgency has been opened up.