[Reader-list] Pakistan Govt Blocks Balochistan Newspaper

anupam chakravartty c.anupam at gmail.com
Tue Nov 9 18:23:08 IST 2010

 The Baloch Hal News

*QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: *The government of Pakistan has decided to ban
Balochistan’s first online English newspaper, *The Baloch Hal*, on the
advice of sensitive government departments, reported Dawn News.

According to the details, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),
which monitors the internet operations in the country, has confirmed to have
received instructions from high-ups in the government to ban the Baloch Hal,
which is currently the most widely quoted newspaper about Pakistan’s
gas-rich province of Balochistan.

“We deeply regret the official decision,” said Malik Siraj Akbar,
editor-in-chief of the newspaper, “we have always provided equal and
balanced coverage to the government and the opposition in our newspaper. The
government should bring public whatever “objectionable” material it ever
found in our newspaper. The ban is intended to disconnect Balochistan’s news
link with the rest of the world. This is a setback to the freedom of press.”

*The Baloch Hal* was launched on November 20, last year and was preparing to
celebrate its first launching anniversary in the next two weeks. The
government had also banned another Baloch newspaper, *Daily Asaap*, last
year and besieged the offices of *Daily Azadi* and *Balochistan Express*.

The signs of ban appeared on Saturday when readers of the newspaper
complained from different Pakistani cities saying they were unable to access
the newspaper.

“Every time I try to access the site, I get a message which says it has been
blocked on the instructions of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
(PTA),” said Zubir Baloch, a resident of Karachi and a user of the services
of World Call Group, a telecommunication Company.

When contacted by The Baloch Hal to explain reasons for the closure of the
site to its subscribers,  the Chief Executive of World Call Group, Sheryar
Taseeer, said he would get information from the management but never shared
the information with the *Baloch Hal* team. It is worth recalling that World
Call Group is owned by the Governor of Punjab and senior Pakistan People’s
Party leader Salmaan Taseer.

The government of Balochistan had also been recently disturbed with the
critical editorials of the newspaper.

” The spokesman of the chief minister of Balochistan accused us of dictating
the government but we still published his point of view because we believe
in the freedom of the press,” said Nazia Baloch, Op-Ed editor of the



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