I had a very interesting discussion on the breakfast table with T today. It was over Akhtar Mengal’s 6 points on Balochistan. Sardar Akhtar Mengak is former Balochistan Chief Minister. He was in exile and recently returned and now heads the Balochistan Nationalist Party (BNP). On Thursday he presented 6 Points in front of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His 6 points are somehow very close to the Pakistani ‘solution’ to end insurgency in Balochistan.
A dear friend and journalist colleague, Malik Siraj Akbar wrote in Baloch Hal against the six points of Mengal. As of now, I have been unable to read his full comments as in Pakistan his online newspaper, The Baloch Hal is still banned. I will read and comment soon abt it.
I suggested to T, I should write an opinion piece about Mengal and MSA’s reaction after reading what he wrote in the Baloch Hal. Our initial discussion was should I write or not:T’s initial point was that I being a non-Baloch can’t become a part of the discourse. Why not? because I am not a victim. I can neither be critical about AM nor MSA. I can’t understand the issue as well as a Baloch can. How can I being a half-Punjabi talk about their problems? My stand point was that should non-Baloch stop discussing the Balochistan issue due to these reason? Should we stop talking about human rights abuse in parts of own country because we don’t live there. This is the same mindset that led to the seclusion of Balochs in the Pakistani society. Non-balochs hardly talk about Balochistan isurgency or independene movement. They are neglecting and are not ready to be part of the discourse. Once non-Baloch especially Punjabis will become part of a discourse then the people will also take it seriously. T said, oh yes! He understood my point of view and agreed to it to. Gave me some valuable ideas too. He said it is like in India when a non-Kashmiri talks about Kashmir. It makes a difference. So yes, I want to make a difference in the discourse about Baloch issue. I strongly believe in it and that is why I did a series of reports on Balochistan. here is a link
This one was published in the ‘Open Democracy’.
This one was cover story of Tehelka, an Indian Magazine. 2009 was a time when most of the Pakistani newspapers and media houses were not ready to run stories on Balochistan.