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On Jahanzaib Haque’s cri de coeur for the Baloch – by Maula Bux Thadani

Thousands of Baloch and Hazara have been killed by Pakistan army and its jihadi proxies in Balochistan in the last few years.

The Pakistani media has perfected the art of assigning false equivalencies and obfuscating issues and their abuse is restricted to a few politicians of the PPP who are not in favour of the security establishment. These pompous blowhards have made a lucrative career out of echoing the propaganda of the ISI. When they abuse PPP politicians of kick-backs and commissions, they are oblivious to the fact that the millions of rupees earned by them in monthly salaries is based not on any journalistic ability but on the propensity to lie with a straight face and echo the propaganda prepared in the bowels of Aabpara.

Therefore it was a pleasure to read the bold and stirring “Separatism Online” by the young Jahanzaib Haque of Express Tribune. When he writes:

Downplayed by the mainstream media, ignored intentionally or unintentionally by what they term ‘fake civil society’ and facing a government and army with a zero-tolerance policy (to put it mildly) for engaging its troubled citizens, Baloch separatists — those who believe they are being ruled by a foreign occupying force, and aredemanding their own state — have taken the battle to the internet, where the playing field is more even and nearly impossible to police.

What can the Pakistan government and army do about the rising tide of Baloch separatists and sympathisers online?

 

These lines encapsulates the struggles faced by many Pakistanis of conscience who simply cannot stay silent on the continuing atrocities being heaped on the Baloch Nationalists and have come out on twitter, facebook and email groups and made it clear that the continual massacres of the Baloch, Hazaras and the Pushtuns is not acceptable – not in their name atleast.

The entire article by Jahanzaib is a compelling reminder that there is still hope; that the Post-Zia generations still have bold voices that feel for the real issues in this country and are articulate and intelligent enough to not fall for the rubbish fed to them by the mainstream media.

Bravo young man!

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Nighat

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  • Here is a copy of JH’s article:

    Separatism online
    By Jahanzaib Haque
    Published: July 6, 2011

    The writer is web editor at The Express Tribune jahanzaib.haque@tribune.com.pk

    They’re on Facebook, using pseudonyms, real names, protected profiles, unabashedly open profiles, busy friending like-minded activists and sympathisers. They are creating Facebook pages, groups and coordinating events. They’re on Twitter, disseminating information, articles, blogs and videos in support of their cause. They have their own daily updated YouTube channels and stations, their own Yahoo! mailing lists chock-full of their leaders, their own crowd both inside and outside Pakistan — and they are angry.

    Downplayed by the mainstream media, ignored intentionally or unintentionally by what they term ‘fake civil society’ and facing a government and army with a zero-tolerance policy (to put it mildly) for engaging its troubled citizens, Baloch separatists — those who believe they are being ruled by a foreign occupying force, and are demanding their own state — have taken the battle to the internet, where the playing field is more even and nearly impossible to police.

    What can the Pakistan government and army do about the rising tide of Baloch separatists and sympathisers online? Yes, they may be able to successfully block a few websites, but with a proxy in hand even a layman now knows how to access blocked material, and if a website is hosted in Ukraine, or India, it is unlikely the site can be dismantled and taken down permanently. And even if it is, so what? It can simply be hosted on another server, and another and another.

    Forget individual websites and blogs, what about Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! Groups and YouTube? Imagine the logistical nightmare of attempting a coordinated silencing of individual Facebook and Twitter accounts. Imagine trying to take out YouTube channels and cutting Yahoo! groups at the source.

    Obviously, attempting a blanket ban of these websites is ludicrous. Hopefully this much has registered with those at the helm of such affairs. So now what? Form teams of agency folk to use any tactic and channels necessary to shut down as many ‘anti-state elements’ as possible? Would threatening emails and messages to say 20-30 per cent of such anti-state folk spread enough terror to curb the flow of information? Or would that result in fuelling the movement, propelling it from strength to strength? And what about anonymous bloggers? Or those in foreign lands? Can they be prevented from saying what they want to say? The answer to this basic question is one Google search away: Type ‘Baloch freedom movement’ and see Pakistan’s great untold story for yourself.

    No sir, there is no scope for policing the internet. Bigger, better nations have tried and failed. However, ignoring this growing online chatter is also no longer an option. Just listening to it and trying to formulate strategies to fight it on-ground ‘where it actually matters’ will also fail, as we have seen in recent times just how powerful the internet can be when it comes to dissent and revolution.

    So should the establishment be alarmed? Should we, the general public who believe in a unified Pakistan, be alarmed by Baloch separatism leading to our second Bangladesh?

    Hopefully not. What needs to be done is to start talking in an open, frank manner. Stop treating citizens, no matter how deep their hatred and dissent, as ‘the other’ who must be silenced. Initiate dialogue, and what better place to do that than online — a level playing field built for communication where even we, individuals, can play the role of diplomats, listening to our estranged brothers and sisters. While it is the responsibility of the government and the armed forces to step up efforts (and step down violence) to tackle this volatile situation with empathy and intelligence, it is also up to us citizens empowered with new technology to breach the widening gaps threatening to tear this entire nation apart.

    You want to start a real revolution? Log on, and have a heart.

    Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/203709/separatism-online/

  • This is not a “symathetic” article in anyway. Note ” no” condemnation or acceptance of attrocities . His concern is “unified Pakistan”. He wants the army to deal with it but not be stupid. Activists becaomes “they” in his discourse.