Balochistan, We Do Not Know You!

Posted on March 6, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Education, Society
Total Views: 44253


Adil Najam

This video needs no explanation. It says so much more than what it says. It deserves a lot of thought. And, for those of us not from Baluchistan, a head hung in shame.

I saw it first in a post on the blog Cafe Pyala, which got it exactly right:

Many of us have often had a laugh about Americans’ woeful knowledge about the rest of the world.

Well, what would you say to this? A BBC Urdu correspondent roamed the streets of Punjab’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Lahore, to ask random people on the street how much they knew of Balochistan. His report is compiled under the heading “Punjab Balochistan Ko Kitna Jaanta Hai?” (How well does Punjab know Balochistan?). Keep in mind that Lahore is not a rural backwater where media is not easily accessible, that Punjab’s population comprises some 60 percent of the Pakistan’s population and that in the last three years, the issue of Balochistan has probably been one of the most talked about issues in domestic politics. Think for a moment what it says about our educational system, our media, our democracy, our policy-making,  our national integration and yes, our majoritarian chauvinism.

If this does not actually shock you, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am.

As I said, this video needs no explanation. It says so much more than what it says. It speaks to the facts that we too often do not speak of. It reminds us of the killings, the disappearances, the murders that we wish to wish away. It deserves a lot of thought. And, for those of us not from Baluchistan, a head hung in shame.

33 Comments on “Balochistan, We Do Not Know You!”

  1. HaroON says:
    March 6th, 2011 10:59 am

    I, too, have a head hung in shame after watching this!

  2. Yasir says:
    March 6th, 2011 11:05 am

    What a sad and pathetic display specially by know-alls in teh video who talk as if they know everything but know nothing.

  3. Humaira says:
    March 6th, 2011 11:10 am

    Do you think the same video made in Quetta, asking questions about Punjab would have been different?

  4. USMAN says:
    March 6th, 2011 11:23 am

    Wow. Thank you for posting this. This is an absolute eye-opener. Also shows just how powerful the media is in making an entire province disappear from the public imagination.

  5. Ali Ahsan says:
    March 6th, 2011 12:01 pm

    Seems to me that Balochistan has become the unwanted ignored stepchild of the Pakistan family that wants out!

  6. Aliya says:
    March 6th, 2011 12:17 pm

    Thank you for highlighting this video. We have to know our own country and our own people first and then worry about rest of the world. ATP is doing a great service in making that happen. The mainstream media is NOT.

  7. Ian says:
    March 6th, 2011 12:43 pm

    Actually it does need some explanation for your readers who don’t speak anything but English. :)

  8. USMAN says:
    March 6th, 2011 12:49 pm

    Touche, Ian.
    But isn’t that explanation in the excerpt below the fold?
    Maybe Adil is giving a hint to readers like you that its time to learn Urdu :-)

  9. shahid sultan says:
    March 6th, 2011 2:35 pm

    Many years ago I made an effort to see Pakistan, I did some camping in Islamabad and then went to Kalam (Swat). See how good my memory is, loved Bahrain beautiful waterfall, things very close to the Nature.

    But it went all down the the hill when half of the village showed up to protest because I took a picture of a little girl working in the field and about quiet an adult looking man happened to be her (to the best of my knowledge) husband was having fits thats when I felt very endangered, insecure and strange in my own country. Fine I lost my camera that I gave it to them but I really felt for the possible Korean and Japanese tourists who tend to love photograph.

    There is no way I am going there anytime soon and I think the same about Quetta Baluchistan.

    I think they all are bunch of weirdos, exotic as some would say but I am not taking the risk. Like the religion wild interpretation was not enough than there are tribesmen shenanigans, a rotten cherry on top.

    No Sir Thank you.

    There are many and many and many cities in the world that are fun fun fun to visit and learn about.

    I leave the horror limited to the movies and Imaginations.

  10. bellztoll says:
    March 6th, 2011 4:10 pm

    In India …..even in Mumbai one knows anything about South India . They can’t tell which langauge comes from which state !! I think there is nothing shocking about the Video this is average Desi Intelligence

  11. March 6th, 2011 5:54 pm

    I feel for the Balochs. The only law is the law of the jungle. Its just quite frustrating to see our own being hurt, our own being deprived, our own being killed.

    Despite of launching mega projects like: The Gwadar Port, Makran Coastal Highway, Saindak Copper Project all exist – the first two are complete, while the Saindak project is well on its way, the Government has much to answer for in Baluchistan, the tribal leaders have made sure that no progress takes place in Baluchistan. The Bugti tribe extracts a massive amount from the govt. for the Sui gas field, and not one rupee have they spent on their own people.

    March 6th, 2011 6:37 pm

    how many people know about entire europe and america,why bbc u are making propeganda taking advantage of illetracy and innocency of our people .Don’t worry almighty allah bless our country,our people are loveable and united,one day we will rise to our islamic status.inshaallah

    March 6th, 2011 6:43 pm


  14. March 6th, 2011 8:29 pm

    Nothing new in this video.

  15. Harris says:
    March 6th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Such videos can sometimes exagerate reality by picking up on and highlighting the ignorant. I think mostly Pakistanis all over do know more about Baluchistan but the larger issue is a lack of respect for the smaller provinces, not a lack of knowledge.

  16. Aftab Gazdar says:
    March 6th, 2011 10:05 pm

    I think the problem of alienation in Balochistan is very real and very serious. But I also think this video is misleading. In some ways it trivializes the problem as if it is only about not visiting Baochistan. The problem si much deeper and more serious. Maybe even the most serious problem of all of Pakistan’s problems.

  17. Meengla says:
    March 7th, 2011 12:08 am

    As pointed out above, this is just ‘average Desi intelligence’. Heck, living in a southern state of America I often find people who have not been beyond any neighboring counties and don’t know the capitals of neighboring states. Forget knowing about Canada or Mexico!
    Is that kind of ignorance excusable? Certainly not, especially in educated people. But I see no reason to do more self-flagellation by Pakistanis. There are plenty others. I am still doing that for S. Taseer and minister Bhatti’s murders.

    However…. a pertinent and dangerous point in the video above is target killing of Punjabis inside Baluchistan. Thanks to another idiotic military dictator General Musharraf– who not only was indirectly responsible for Akbar Bugti’s death but also called the death ‘good’ the day after the death of Bugti–Baluchis are probably alienated for good. And they see Punjab and Punjabis as their prime enemies. That is, of course, wrong.

    May Pakistan be saved from these so-called ‘saviors’ dressed in khakis.

  18. Noor says:
    March 7th, 2011 2:22 am

    Isn’t it a pity that channels like BBC come to expose our weaknesses (true issues), while our own media is drunk to the wine of sensation and political machinations!

    I suggest some solutions: 1

    1. Promoting citizen journalism in Balochistan, by training the youth in blogging and website development/management

    2. Declare 2012 as the “Year of Balochistan” and use schools, colleges and universities, to spread more information about Balochistan

    3. Create Balochistan Information Societies at union council levels, comprising of elders/educated youth who know more about Balochistan and rest of Pakistan

    4. Our singers should come up with songs and anthems to popularize heritage, history and geography of Balochistan

    5. PTV has a channel dedicated to Balochistan but its viewership in the cities is too low. Other channels need to come up with special and interesting programs on Balochistan to break the ceilings of ignorance

    These steps need to be taken up on war footings, if we are to move towards reducing the gap between people

  19. Anwer says:
    March 7th, 2011 2:48 am

    Who can check them? — by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur\story_6-3-2011_pg3_2

  20. bangash says:
    March 7th, 2011 8:37 am

    Please don’t compare beggar-state Pakisan to USA ok ?

  21. Nusrat says:
    March 7th, 2011 8:46 am

    Baluchistan has the distinction of being bombed by Pakistan’s civilian and military rulers, pretty much, in every decade since 1947.

  22. Safar Shah says:
    March 7th, 2011 11:05 am

    This story by BBC tells one side of the story. It forgets the thousand or so settlers (Punjabis, Sindhis and some pathans) who have been target of baloch criminals. And settlers have a right to settle anywhere. When you have had millions of baloch settling in Punjab and Sindh over many many years why don’t Punjabis have a right to settle without being target killed?

  23. M. says:
    March 7th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Kudos to Noor. Some excellent ideas.

    What can we, ordinary citizens of Pakistan help bridge this divide?

  24. SM says:
    March 7th, 2011 1:09 pm

    If someone ask the same question about sindh, I bet, the answer would not be different. Most of us know karachi, hayderabad, or may be sukkhar only. Not knowing that how culturally rich and historically important it has been.

    Same is the case with baluchi people, as they dont know much about punjab or sindh areas. what to talk about KP, as not many people knows about it as well other then peshawar.

    So I guess it is just something natural. We all have our own designed capsule, and are living happily into it. So nothing strange and nothing to be worried.

    But the worry point is unrest/lawlessness in baluchistan and hatered being spread in the hearts of baluchies for punjabis. Most of the govt grants, funds have been consumed by wadera’s and just to satisfy their people they put all the blame on punjab and punjabi, that they dont give them anything.

    I guess, Education in baluchistan is the beggest challenge that one should address.

  25. faizan says:
    March 7th, 2011 2:41 pm

    People in the clip is general public.
    Even the non-Baloch politicians do not know much, like the P.M of the country. They can’t even pronounce the identification noun correctly. They use “Balochi”, while the original noun is “Baloch” for the people. It is stupid as calling Pathans as Pathaani English as Englishii!
    The Interior Minister of so called Islamic State Mr.Malik can’t even read Surah Ikhlaas written in front of him, what would you expect from the public of the powerful province!

  26. MMN says:
    March 8th, 2011 12:51 pm

    does it matter? how many baloch know about rest of Pakistan? except whatever is taught in schools….this is not something to be worried about, not at all. my head is not hung in shame. not at all. geographical knowledge is general at the very least. and you cannot expect a commoner to know much about anything beyond his few square miles of reach. our nation is cringed with poverty and baterred by abysmal state of unity both religious and national. honestly, i do not see a silver lining…unless a major reform is brought about. unless education for the masses is aligned. unless religious ideologies are consolidated and aligned….there will be no silver lining.otherwise. not at all.

  27. Techuth says:
    March 8th, 2011 6:51 pm

    Thats all they can do but we should think about them they are humans.

  28. Ruszn Baloch says:
    March 9th, 2011 8:02 am

    @MMN you are completely off the mark my friend. The issue is not the genral knowledge of the people of Punjab or Balochistan. The issue that this short documenray highlights is the complete indifference of the people of Punjab and for that matter, the rest of Pakistan to the plight of Baloch and Balochistan. Someone had commented about Baloch militants killing settlers in Balochistan, nobody mentioned the killings of Baloch political activists having nothing to do with these target killings; being abducted, brutally tortured, murdered and thrown away by Pakistani security agencies. I condemn both. Pakistan and Pakistani military should stop acting like colonists in Balochistan and should stop treating it like a colony. An institution as established and responsible as Pakistan Army cannot and should not act like a mafia or a gang; unfortunately that is what its agencies are doing in Balochistan to silent the militants in the mountain by taking revenge on Baloch students and political activists. This has come with a free hand to the petty criminals to go with their reign of lawlessness. But as I said you wont know it as just like everybody else the Pakistani media does not consider it worth reporting on. They have more urgent issues like stupid worthless seminars on “Aman ki Asha”, Raymond Davis etc.
    Its time Pakistan Army and its Agencies go back to where they belong and leave the matters of Balochistan in the hands of the political leadership including holding free and fair elections in Balochistan and non-interference in its affairs.

  29. Asad says:
    March 10th, 2011 12:53 am

    And we support democracy, where everyone is assumed to be knowledgeable ! Just imagine the impact of this phenomenon on the overall democratic process.

    Aristotle has recognized the point long ago!

  30. WAKH says:
    March 10th, 2011 6:15 am

    I agree with Ruszn Baloch completely!!!

    I believe myself to be patriotic Pakistani as the next person and would like it balkanized. However we should know that we can’t and shouldn’t suppress people through the violence, it simply hasn’t worked in the past (Bangladesh anyone) and wouldn’t work in the future.

    Pakistan must solve this issue even if it means granting amnesty to the folks who are being hunted by the security agencies rightly or wrongly to at least bring down the violence. People, rebels or individuals from security agencies, who have committed crimes to big to be forgiven should be brought to justice. At least make the Balochis believe that their blood is not cheap and they matter as much as everyone else in the country.

    BTW I also wanted add that this idea of government neglect isn’t unique to Baluchistan, Sindh or Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa but also Punjab which is often purported to be hogging all the resources of everyone else. Because most of these resources end up in only three cities Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Most of the other places are in equally dire need of resources and services as they are in Baluchistan.

  31. lida says:
    March 12th, 2011 11:06 am

    As a Pakistani I am shocked to see the stupidity of the Pakistani public interviewed. This only confirms to me that until there is a revolution in Pakistan. Pakistan will cease to exist in 20 years.

  32. Vigilant says:
    March 13th, 2011 11:38 am

    The comments left by trolls, for example the one about “beggar state Pakistan” contribute nothing to the discussion and leave one wanting to puke. I swear I have read the same comment elsewhere from an Indian too and I wonder why this particular comment was included. Perhaps that was an inadvertent error. I suggest the admins exercise some discretion and do NOT include every inflammatory comment they get, especially from people claiming to be someone who they are not.

  33. December 2nd, 2011 3:40 pm

    Baluchistan should be given what it deserves and the Lords should be given what THEY deserve…
    The girls are so very idiot in the last shots proudy and ugly that….

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