Monthly Archives: August 2014

Who’ll be next voice to the voiceless after Irshad Mastoi?

[As I write this piece more than 30 journalists are killed only in Balochistan in the previous five years]

He would always laugh and speak in a humorous style. He would inquire, then criticize political parties particularly those who ever come into power. Then makes some statements relating these parties past and present. And he would ask now look they were “yesterday’s comrade but today’s pure men”.

He was having many sources among every single organization, political party, militant groups and law enforcement agencies. The one thing I still remember was his way to cover his sources from being exposed. And he’d produce a balance report. At the same time he had eyes on political scenario of Balochistan, the Pakistan’s largest province being faced by the Baloch separatist movement and insurgency.

This young looking, creative and well aware journalist was Irsha Mastoi. He among his two staff members at Online News Agency office were shot dead by unknown gunmen. His staff member Ghulam Rasool who was a final year masters student at the department of Mass Communication at the University of Balochistan and another Muhammad Younas the Online News Agency financier died on the spot. Mastoi was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Mastoi was well known for his brilliant work in a province where media is sandwich between military and militants. Not only are the Baloch militants the active part of the chaotic situation of the province. Here many other groups are active.

One of them is the main Afghan Taliban group Quetta Shura that is said to have presence in this capital city and around the Pashtun populated districts. Including this Afghan militant group many smaller groups like Lashkar eJhangavi to the hard liner Tehreek e Taliban and half a dozen other religious organizations are active in Quetta and around the province. The strict tribal culture of Baloch and Pashtun tribes is another fold to the complexity of the political scenario of Balochistan.

Mastoi was a journalist who played his role to be voice to the voiceless. He never stopped his pen when writing on different topics. Urdu was his first medium for his Online News Agency. He also wrote in English for the popular Magazine Pulse that is having a greater number of readers across Pakistan.

It is not known how the short size Mastoi would take out news from within the circles of the conflicting parties. And then compose them in a blended way that no one would raise a finger on him.

In my last meeting when I arrived at his office. He jokingly said, welcome “government”. I started in a friendly word fire, “Mastoi you’ll never satisfy whether Balochistan get a nationalist government or the government of religious parties”. He laughed and said if he get satisfy then who would play the role of “opposition”. I asked him, if he was journalist or opposition? He replied again smilingly “Malik we should be critique to all who are ruling”.

In real it was the great Mastoi who’ll always cover every assignment. Once I was working with an international news organization and had not having enough stories. When I picked my phone and dialed his number asked him if he could help me naming some stories that I would cover. He asked “Malik you cannot report reality here in Pakistan, so do cover development. Where nobody will harm you and it would be a great help to the people of Balochistan”.

Just got a tweet of senior journalist and Pakistan’s Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir, “ don’t forget Irshad Mastoi killed yesterday in Quetta he wrote article against enforced disappearances on Aug 25 shot on Aug 28″.

Irshad Mastoi is no more with us but we can say with an open mouth that this man was a real journalist who didn’t bow before any sort of blackmailing, pressure groups and even military and militants. In private gathering he would lash every one.

He had studied the left literature and was the stronger follower of democracy. He believed in development and freedom of speech. This pro-democracy mentality of Irshad Mastoi can be fond on his Twitter and Face Book Ids. That’s why such bright men like Mastoi are never recognized as friends but always clicked to the category of foes in a country like we have. And they are silenced with the guns barrel for the reality they write and pursue.

I don’t know who’ll be the next Mastoi from us. Because we live in a country where no one has right of opinion and expression.

In last my salutes to the soul of bravo Irshad Mastoi, his colleagues Ghulam Rasool and Muhammad Younas the financier on the occasion of his uncertain killing.

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Anti PTI and PAT rally by Pashtoonkhwa MAP activists in Quetta

The enthusiast youths were chanting. Old age men were in the front rows. Helping youths supported the on going masses to be in an organized structure because they had to walk some two miles reaching their destination.

Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party its student wing Pashtoonkhwa Students Organizaiton anti #PTI & #PAT rally got its start from the party’s central secretariat on Jinnah Road Quetta, passing through Zarghoon Road and then covering Kandahari Bazar to its end on Bacha Khan Chowk. The thousands of participants sat in the largest avenue ground in front of Baldia Plaza.

The participants of the rally chanted ‘Qahraman– dear Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai Zindabad Zindabad– Long live long live’. The two long lives were only to mix a singing rhythm in the tune. Many more anti dictatorship and pro democracy slogans were going out from loudspeaker fit in the cabin of a vehicle.

The #PkMAP activists and supporters, the masses had arranged this rally on a shortest call. After the party chairman had called upon the democracy believing forces of Pakistan.

Imran Khan, though, had a public gathering in Quetta and Loralai prior to the May 11th 2013 general election in Pakistan. But his party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf didn’t secure a single seat.

The reason is clear, the people from Balochistan are either Nationalist or strong follower of their religious and tribal elders. Who have played crucial role in the politics of the country. And Balochistan seems to be the only active province not giving space to Imran Khan’s PTI for his pro establishment agendas.

On the other hand a Candian citizen religious scholar Tahirul Qadri has also launched his march of “Revolution” after a clash between his supporters and the police in Lahore resulted killing some women and men participants of PATs.

In the past Mr Khan had launched his anti US drone campaign. And after winning the majority seats in Khyber Pashtunkhwa provincial assembly Khan had given the chance to form his coalition government with Jamat e Islami and Qaumi Watan Party of Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao. Later on this coalition got a split owing to the “immature” political journey of PTI, according to some sources.

Khan is this time given a task to topple Nawaz Sharif’s government by removing this democratically elected Prime Minister by a forceful sit in of some thousands people.

On the other side millions of voters polled their votes in the favor of some 12 political parties of Pakistan. According to the Reuters report Pakistan Army used PTI leadership to achieve their goals for pressurizing the current democratic government not to harm army stance on the foreign policy, interference in Afghanistan and rest of the neighboring countries, ex Army chief Gen (R) Musharaf trail for his illegal coup against the then elected government of Mian Nawaz Sharif in 1999, approval of Pakistan army budget by the parliament.

Therefore the democratic parties of the countries have sided with the elected government and its leading PM. So PkMAP’s today rally was the start. And this will prolong if PTI doesn’t change its stance and put a dash to their unconstitutional sit in the capital city of Islamabad.