Related post: Qasida-e-Husain-Haqqani – by Malik Siraj Akbar
We are cross-posting this interesting post by Baloch Hal editor Malik Siraj Akbar in which he “humbly and respectfully thanks the government of the United States of America” for granting him asylum in a country where in his own words he is sure he will not be judged “by the color of… skin but the content of … character.”
Malik Siraj AKbar is commonly known to have the following peculiar features:
1. Siraj belongs to the Najam Sethi lobby of the non-Baloch “champions” of the Baloch cause. The myth of Sethi’s contributions to the Baloch resistance movement has been shattered by none else than his own Baloch resistance colleague Asad Rehman in his interview with Siraj (what an irony!)
2. According to senior Baloch journalist and activist, Ahmar Musti Khan, Siraj belongs to a Punjabi settler family in Balochistan. The American Friends of Balochistan have requested him to clarify if it is true that he is a Punjabi settler’s son to clear misperceptions in the minds of the people about his political loyalty, once and for all. While this does not make him less worthy or less equal, this does raise important questions about his transparency and integrity particularly when he presents himself (e.g. in the following post) as a “young endangered Baloch journalist”.
3. Siraj has a track record of developing networks with and flattering influential people, even if they represent Pakistan’s establishment, to promote his personal interests. For example, review his famous qasidah of Ambassador Hussain Haqqani.
While we congratulate Siraj on achieving his long time personal goal (political asylum in the USA), we hope he will refrain from occasionally misrepresenting facts for personal gains, for example when he refers to an ISI’s asset’s arrest in the US as an outcome of trust deficit between Pakistan and US. Baloch activists and their supporters will agree that anyone who is associated with known toadies of Pakistan’s military establishment, e.g., Najam Sethi and Urooj Zia types, for personal gains is not to be trusted on the Baloch cause.
Here is Siraj’s post in his own words:
by Malik Siraj Akbar
26 October 2011
During the past eight years, we, the indigenous majority people of Balochistan, the largest resource-rich province in Pakistan, have experienced extraordinary brutalities. The Pakistani forces have killed the best of our politicians, doctors,lawyers, professors, journalists, and students. During the ongoing conflict, I have lost some of my best friends. Friends with whom I shared my dorm room; those with whom I ate lunch and worked as a journalist. Many of my friends have disappeared while the others are going through trauma.
As a liberal, progressive journalist, I have always advocated a peaceful political solution to the conflict in Balochistan but Islamabad never paid attention to our suggestions. The government agencies killed several Baloch journalists,blocked my online newspaper, The Baloch Hal, threatened to kill me, ran massive abusive online campaigns against me.
Pakistan loves Balochistan’s resources but not its people. A Baloch, whether educated or uneducated, is, at the end of the day, considered as a ‘traitor’. There were so many times I proposed in my articles that insanity should stop and Pakistani forces should end the killing of Balochs. Instead, the post-Musharraf Balochistan has witnessed the new gruesome phenomenon of kill and dump. At least 250 Baloch youths have been tortured to death in the last eight months.
I have always considered myself as a brave reporter but my friends tell me there is a very fine line between bravery and stupidity. But I chose to become a journalist because I wanted to fight injustice.
As a young endangered Baloch journalist who is still committed to exposing human rights violations, particularly from Balochistan, I am announcing a very difficult but important decision of my life. I would like to humbly and respectfully thank the government of the United States of America for granting me asylum in this country where I am sure I will not be judged “by the color of… skin but the content of … character.”