Things have started to become difficult for the Baloch since their country Balochistan was attacked and divided by the British imperial forces in 1839 – subsequently later occupied by Iran and Pakistan in 1928 and 1948 respectively. There had been at least five major military operations against Baloch people after the occupation of sovereign Baloch state. The fifth military incursion started in 2000 which is on-going to this day.
Things got worse and worse in Balochistan since 2001 and deteriorated in particular in 2005. On 17 March 2005 the Pakistan Air Force bombed Dera Bugti town of Balochistan. A Hindu Temple was hit and several worshippers including women and children died, the local schools and much of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed. People were being massacred but the Pakistani media was either giving a wrong perception or totally ignoring the state brutalities against Baloch people.
After the constant bombing in Dera Bugti 85% of population fled and were displaced to surrounding areas and living in appalling conditions. People do not just get up and leave their homes, their livelihoods and belongings for no reason. They go when they too terrified to stay. The displaced were not only ignored by the government but the Pakistani media too had turned a blind eye to their sufferings.
On 17 December 2005 the army bombed several areas of Kohistan Marri and many people including women and children were killed. There was indiscriminate bombing – it was murder. It was collective punishment which is a war crime – this is what Baloch are faced with but Pakistan has barred International media and Human Rights Organisation from visiting Balochistan. Due to the media blackout the international community doesn’t know much about the plight of Baloch people.
After the massacre of such scale which was unnoticed by the international community media we started to think about what we could do to bring the plight of Baloch people to the attention of wider world – as the slow motion genocide of Baloch nation was not being reported in the international Press. We felt this was giving more courage to Pakistan to commit further crimes and easily get away with it because Pakistani generals knew non-one was watching and no-one cared.
We, three Baloch youth, come up with idea of setting up a website so that we could get this information out to the international community and the Baloch people abroad. Our focus was not in Balochistan but outside of it. We wanted to get help and support for those inside Balochistan – we wanted to become a voice for the voiceless Baloch people.
We decided to call our website Balochwarna, warna means youth in Balochi and we wanted to encourage the Baloch youth, who are the future of Balochistan, to get involved and help their nation. We have been serving Baloch nation since 2005 by becoming the voice of thousands of Baloch families who’s loved ones were abducted by states’ security forces. We will continue our efforts, in our capability, to raise awareness on international level and report the atrocities against Baloch people.
From Balochwarna website to Balochwarna News: The main aim for switching from a webpage to an online news source (Balochwarna News) is to inform the Baloch Diaspora and influence the international community and international media to take notice of the plight of Baloch nation. Our aim is to report first hand news from Balochistan for international press. We will strive to convince the world to acknowledge that the Baloch have been and are being subjected to acts that are tantamount to war crimes.
Balochwarna News is not a personal mouthpiece for three Baloch youth or for any particular groups. Our aim is simple – we want to bring the news of what is happening in Balochistan to the world. We want to engage and inform human rights groups around the world and the international community in its widest sense about what the Baloch people are going through at the hands of Iranian and Pakistani security forces. The stories of Balochistan are not often published in the international press as Pakistan and Iran have made it difficult for the press to report about Balochistan issue, foreign journalists are not granted the necessary press permission to report from Balochistan, if they get in they are harassed and intimidated and often kicked out. This is what happened to Carla Goll of the New York Times and other journalists who tried to visit Balochistan and report about the situation. The local journalists are either abducted or target killed mostly by government mercenaries for reporting human rights abuses against Baloch people.
We want the international press to know and write about what is happening in Balochistan because the Pakistani generals who committed crimes in Bangladesh are repeating the same in Balochistan. Because of media blackout they are getting away with the most horrible human rights abuses against Baloch people. We, at Balochwarna News, will tell the other side of the story to the world that has long been ignored and needs the immediate attention of international community, media and Human Rights Organisations.
Jihand Baloch: Balochistan Correspondent
Mazar Baloch: Photographer