Concerns in Balochistan are getting tense - BY: Asad Khan Betini

image It is very depressing to observe that Newspapers and periodicals are now under government’s target since the militants groups had lifted ban on it’s circulation. The government has imposed 17% tax on newspapers & periodicals, bringing immense economic setbacks to the already crippling conditions of local media (newspapers) in Balochistan. Editor Council led by senior journalists has strongly reacted to the biased approach of balochistan government, stating therein that the stance of Balochistan government was unacceptable to the newspaper industry, adding that newspapers would not fall prey to “What Government wants unusual” in the province. Editor council has once again demanded to ensure tax free press in Balochistan. A delegation led by senior journalist “Anwar Sajidi” also met Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizinjoo and discussed the prevailing condition of Newspaper industry, although Chief Minister assured cooperation by removing tax from the newspapers & periodicals but notification is yet to be issued. It was learnt through sources that some elements in the bureaucratic circles were reluctant to issue notification despite CM’s verbal approval.
Bills were also withheld since last four months that brought major setbacks to sustainable payment of wages to employees in firms. The newspaper employees union has also raised concerns over non-payment of their wages and on the other hand, Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the media owners to ensure timely payments of wages to their employees. Three dimensional concerns are getting tense, The Editor Council, The government and Employees Union are intransigent to each other. It is now being planned to meet Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti to resolve the matter, otherwise, the editor may conduct a press conference regarding biased approach of incumbent government. After one year of ban on newspapers by the militant group, now the lawless bureaucracy of balochistan did not delay putting rope in the neck of newspaper industry. A local hawker “Stalll wala” Shah Jee Said, “Ban was imposed on newspapers & periodicals by militant group and recently they lifted ban”. Balochistan’s newspaper industry is now falling towards planned murder and icons of Balochistan’s Journalism including “Siddique Baloch” left in discontent. What is more unfortunate when Media is being treated like a dissent? The rich province and poor masses could not produce better off results. The unemployment volume in Balochistan is one of the highest in Pakistan which has been recorded 33.4% Thereby around 80% people are unemployed here. Non-Industrialization, extreme poverty, joblessness are the catalysts behind political grievances, terrorism and provincialism in the country. It is pertinent to mention here that Balochistan still possesses the weakest Freedom of Information Act “2005”, The law was reluctantly constituted by General (r) Pervaiz Musharraf after growing concerns of Rights Activists. It is highly throbbing to say that no concerns are shown by All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) for Balochistan’s Newspapers. The people in the province feel mistreated. May there be peace on us.
Asad Khan Betini is a freelance journalist

Posted on Feb 20, 18 | 9:21 am