Many Baloch activists criticize Pakistani media for its deafness when it comes to the painful screams echoing from Balochistan. They take the high level of freedom of press in advanced democratic societies, like Western European countries and North America, and expect the same freedom in a nearly failed state like Pakistan.
Had Pakistan been an advanced, democratic and free country, the Baloch either would not have felt the need for separation, or would have gotten it without resorting to armed struggle — through democratic means such as referendum. The very demand for separation in Balochistan is reinforced by the lack of freedom of expression, democracy, the rule of law, and good governance in Pakistan.
The complaint against Pakistani media’s deafness does not make much sense. In fact, it is based on wrong analogical reasoning. However, for the sake of self-satisfaction, it can be cross examined by assuming that Pakistani media is deaf, and then asking the following questions: Is international media giving enough coverage to the Balochistan issue? Is that also deaf? Is international media under pressure by the Pakistani death squads for reporting? The answer to all these questions is a plain ‘no’.
The hard reality is that there is no appropriate coverage on the Balochistan issue in the international media as well. It suggests that neither Pakistani nor international media are deaf, but Balochistan is mute. Right from the very beginning, Balochistan is suffering from a chronic difficulty in conveying its message to the world conscience.
In contrast, the Baloch are wasting their time and energy by condemning the Pakistani media. There is no doubt about the existence of a de facto if not de jure ban on reporting on Balochistan; yet, there are many journalists, and news outlets that are defying this media sanction under whatever intentions — be it bravery, humanity or professionalism.
But the Baloch should accept this hard reality that news outlets are born out of pre-determined goals and objectives. They report on a particular issue only if they find it in the direction of their objectives. If they don’t report, they are still moving in the same direction. They are neither Baloch nor owned by the Baloch. They do not have any sympathy with the Baloch, leave alone any commitment to the Baloch cause. Their commitment lies only with their goals and objectives, and they are doing that quite well.
Therefore, the Baloch have to choose one of the following two options: First, to postpone their struggle till Pakistan becomes fully democratic, where freedom of expression and press is ensured. This seems impossible at least in the near future. Second, to have their own media to communicate with the world, and internationalize the Baloch cause.
In the latter case, they need to understand that news from Balochistan can travel transnationally without the permission of Islamabad. If the Pakistani establishment is not allowing its media to inform the people of Pakistanis about Balochistan issue, let them get educated through international media and world public opinion.
But informing Pakistanis should not be a priority. The main priority must be given to educating the American people whose taxes are pouring into Balochistan, albeit in the form of bombs and bullets.
The Baloch should keep in their mind that the Pakistani army cannot be defeated simply by hitting its military outposts and personnel. In a country like Pakistan with nearly 200 million people, the Pakistani army can easily recruit as many soldiers as it needs. The defeat of Pakistan’s army can only be realized if its funding sources are hit, the way that the West brought Iran and Al-Qaeda to their knees. Although the success of this strategy requires a comprehensive plan, the Baloch media can play a huge role.
Given that the Baloch is fighting a guerrilla war in Balochistan, the Baloch media should also adopt the same model in terms of structure and operation. For this purpose, they should free their minds from the conventional conception about the media, which confines it to television channels and newspapers. The Baloch media should be decentralized in terms of structure, and comprehensive and diverse in term of means, to include social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.
Through such a media, they should target the American congressmen who are endorsing funds for the Pakistan army. Most of these congressmen are active on the social media. They should be identified, and their pages and accounts should be bombarded with thousands of polite posts and comments on some specific days such as the Baloch Martyrs Day, Balochistan Independence Day etc.
In line with the above, the Baloch media needs to by-pass big media empires such as Washington post, New York Times, CNN etc. These outlets are flooded by hundreds of news stories every day. In fact, unlike their international image, they have relatively little effect in forming public opinion in the United States.
The Baloch media should know the greatest weakness of an American congressman is his or her constituency or vote bank. Perhaps no one more than Obama realized it, and he showed it too during his government’s recent nuclear deal with Iran. When congressmen threatened that they would reject the deal, Obama appealed to the people of America to write to their respective representative in the Congress.
The Baloch can also do the same by targeting and feeding the local news outlets in the constituencies of pro-Pakistani congressmen. Such news are truly relevant to the local politics of those constituencies, thus cannot be ignored easily. Once the Balochistan issue reaches the American local media, every congressman will think twice before endorsing any legislation on giving millions of dollars in aid to the Pakistan army.