Why is it difficult to do journalism in Balochistan?
President of Quetta Press Club Abdul Khaliq Rand says that many of our comrades have escaped from us in bomb attacks and target killings in Balochistan. Now the field is not safe in its place, not even the newsroom. The incident that happened in the news agency office is a clear example of this. All the journalist martyrs of the province sacrificed their lives to speak the truth and highlight the problems of the people.
Journalism has always been difficult in the world, especially in conflict and war zones, but it has become more difficult in the current era with increasing risk factors. Which field journalists have to face due to specific situations. And so doing journalism and field reporting in Balochistan is a difficult task. On the one hand, it is a tribal province, with tribal issues and conflicts in place, on the other hand, militancy and opposition by some separatist organizations against state institutions and other law enforcement agencies. There are problems. Apart from this, communal and other problems also keep happening here. Journalism is not easy considering all these situations .
Balochistan journalists have to work and report for their respective media organizations while living in these strange and complex conditions . In such a situation, media persons of the province working in the field face direct and indirect problems. Many incidents of sabotage have taken place in the past, in which many journalists have become news themselves in search of news. These incidents include two suicide attacks outside Civil Hospital Emergency , Bacha Khan Chowk and suicide attacks in Murreeabad. Several journalists , cameramen and photographers were killed in these incidents. Not only suicide bombings but also many journalists in target killing incidentsThey have lost their lives. Among them are the bureau chief of a news agency Irshad Mastoi and his two colleagues Abdul Rasool and Younis Baloch who were martyred by target killing on August 28, 2014. This incident is a clear message to all journalists that they should stay in their offices and newsrooms . Not safe either. Apart from Quetta, similar incidents have also been reported in the interior of the province. Where there was target killing of journalists and media persons were also subjected to torture.
Irshad Mastoi’s brother Abid Mir says that Irshad Mastoi is the only lucky journalist whose killers were arrested. Just as speed was shown in arresting their killers, so was speed in killing them. At that time, Chief Minister Balochistan was under the government of Dr. Malik Baloch. The government held a press conference at the secretariat and claimed to have arrested him. They announced the formation of a committee that senior journalistsAnd there will be a member from the martyr’s family who will meet the accused and try to find out from them the reasons behind the martyrdom of Irshad Mastoi and Abdul Rasool, Yunus Bhai, but only ten days after the announcement, the security forces in Mastung to arrest more accused. An operation was conducted in which the accused were claimed to have died in cross-firing and the final mortuary was seen. Despite the passage of nine years, we still do not know why Irshad Mastoi was martyred. What crime was he punished for? Now it is the job of journalists and journalistic organizations to find the truth, but they have not tried to know the reason for this, nor has it been found out what is the condition of Irshad Mastoi’s family.
President of Quetta Press Club Abdul Khaliq Rand says that many of our comrades have escaped from us in bomb attacks and target killings in Balochistan . Now the field is not safe in its place, not even the newsroom . The incident that happened in the news agency office is a clear example of this. All the journalist martyrs of the province sacrificed their lives to speak the truth and highlight the problems of the people. In the entire country, Quetta Press Club has the honor of being the only press club which has created the Martyrs Family Trust.
In this trust we have used all the resources we have to help the family of the martyrs and also try to fulfill their needs because we all know that Quetta Press Club and Balochistan Union of Journalists . We don’t have enough resources, but we have done what we can and we are doing as much as we can. Whether it is in the form of hearing cases in the court, it is in the form of other financial assistance, we try to stay within our means. They are trying to solve all the problems of the family of martyrs. BalochistanUnion of Journalists, Quetta Press Club is conducting safety workshops, seminars and other such training programs for journalists. Also demands the owners of newspapers and news channels to take measures for the protection of their workers and provide them with safety facilities. Apart from this, such an environment should be created in media and newspaper offices so that they can be relieved from stress.
Former president of Balochistan Union of Journalists and senior journalist Salman Ashraf says that journalist Irshad Mastoi is a very good person and a good friend. He was an active journalist and reporter. He gained a lot of fame in a short period of time. He was the Secretary General of Balochistan Union of Journalists. He was also associated with the private news channel ARY as an assignment editor. On 23 March 2023, the government awarded Irshad Mastoi with the posthumous Presidential Award as a state-level recognition of his journalistic services and sacrifice.
Social activist Alauddin Khilji says that it is not an easy task to do journalism and tell the truth in a society like Balochistan . The role that journalists are playing in the society despite the difficult conditions is no less than a difficult task. We appreciate them and pay tribute to the journalists who were martyred in the line of duty. Thanks to these martyrs, journalism is flourishing in Balochistan . Today the journalists of Balochistan do not have any social security from the government which is a big question mark on their rule.
Sana Durrani, a female social worker, said in a speech at the ceremony organized by the Balochistan Union of Journalists in connection with the Martyrs of Journalism Day at the Quetta Press Club that 41 journalists were martyred in Balochistan .No, but the heads of 41 families, their only supporters and loved ones escaped from them. Everyone connected with these martyrs has been affected. The affected families are still facing many kinds of problems including financial and economic and especially the families of these martyrs are still waiting for justice. This situation is a question mark on the performance of the government that the families of journalists should get the same privileges as the families of martyrs of security forces. Apart from this, the society also has some responsibilities. We all should play our role in the society to protect the families of the martyrs.
The fact is that reporting and field journalism in Balochistan is no longer an easy journey, which is also evident from the death of around 43 media persons in various incidents of terrorism and target killing.