End of my affiliation with Daily Times
I am no longer with Daily Times as the publisher of the newspaper, who is also the Governor of Punjab province, has decided to fire me from my job due to my ‘harsh writings’, ‘ the blog’ I maintain and my revealing interview with Asad Rehman which has irked and exposed many reputed men.
In my last column about the Baloch IDPs, I wrote:
“…the military junta was so incensed that not only did it ask the UNICEF chief to leave the country but also put pressure on UN officials to back out from the report they had prepared about Baloch IDPs… There are obvious reasons for the country’s security establishment to create obstacles for aid workers. The grave violations of human rights during the military operation in Balochistan are likely to be exposed to the international community once they are granted access to Balochistan’s conflict zones.”
I was being very naïve. If the security establishment could fire the UNICEF chief from Pakistan by raising the issue of the Baloch IDPs how would it digest my writing about what I called as “Balochistan’s unattended IDP crisis?”
I deeply thank all my friends and well wishers who have expressed solidity with me on the move taken by the publisher of Daily Times. I would assure all of my readers that my commitment with the people of Balochistan will remain in its place. I will continue to write about my people and their rights on my blog and the Baloch Hal. This is surely not going to be a smooth ride. Professional and ideological commitment is not always priceless. You have to pay a price for what you think and write in a society like that of Pakistan. We have to understand the kind of pressures involved while writing on the controversial issue of Balochistan.
I belong to the Robert Fisk school of thought in journalism where we staunchly believe journalists must have an opinion. We can not remain mere public relation officers. It is our job to inform our readers who the good and bad guys are. Journalism without activism, said a sage, is intellectual masturbation. I cannot do that.
Many people think the best way to undermine the resolve of a journalist is to cut his sources of income. That is what the publishers of Daily Times have done. On this occasion, all that I have to say is what I had to say before a thousand people in a conference in New Delhi in January 2010.
“I am a Baloch journalist. I was born and brought up in Balochistan. I write on Balochistan. The Urdu poet Perveen Shahkir said.
Bakht say shikayat hey na aflak say hey
Yahee kai kam hey ki mujy nisbath is khak say hey
Khawab main be thumain bholoon tho rawa rakh wo rawiya
Jo hawa ka khas o khashak say hey
“I write on Balochistan and that is the area of my focus. However, I have been asked to avoiding talking on Balochistan but to speak on Federalism and Multiculturism. I would refuse in protest to speak on this topic. I have come to speak on Balochistan. If Mr. Chairman I am allowed to speak on Balochistan keeping in view that when I go back and write my report this session would be mentioned as the “Session on Balochistan” not on “Federalism and Multiculturism”. If I am not allowed to speak on Balochistan, I will sit back in my chair in protest and not speak a word.”
“What are you going to do next?” asked a friend of mine yesterday, “ I think you should join the governmnt and support it as it is in your greater interst.”
I had only one thing in response courtesy MJ’s popular song “They don’t really care about us”. This song motivates me every time when there are some people out there to test my resolve and commitment to a cause.
Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me
You can never kill me
Jew me, sue me
Everybody do me
Kick me, kike me
Don’t you black or white me