By Barkat Ullah Baloch

Gwadar Press Club remained closed for three months following militant group’s threats to the media houses and press clubs.

Balochistan’s media houses reopened on Monday after banned militant organizations announced on 20th January to formally end the boycott against the media outlets of the province. The journalists have resumed their duties and the media houses, press clubs, and cable operators have begun to function as normal after remaining closed for three months. 

Amid the threats from the banned outfits, the news industry had come to a complete halt in southern and central parts of Balochistan due to a boycott campaign launched by the former on 24th October 2017. The banned outfits accused media of biased reporting on Balochistan’s insurgency and concealing the state’s atrocities in the province.

They had been demanding the media to publish their statements and report on their activities. On the other hand, the media outlets have been clearly directed by the state authorities to avoid reporting on the proscribed organizations.

Intikhab, one of the leading local newspapers’ bureau office in Gwadar. 

During the boycott, a number of terror incidents were reported when not only the newspaper copies were burnt but press clubs and media houses also came under physical attacks. Following the attacks, the government deployed paramilitary troops at media houses and the newspaper market to protect them from any untoward incident.

A senior journalist from Gwadar who is also a Joint Secretary of Gwadar Press Club, Sadaqat Baloch confirmed to Pak Voices that all the journalists have resumed their journalistic duties making news outlets functional once again. 

He said that these three months were a test of endurance for the journalists. They lived through a situation of grave uncertainty when they were not only threatened for their life, but they had to make both ends meet in the absence of any formal employment.

He added that the newspaper hawkers had suffered the most whose main source of earning was paper distribution.  

Barkat Ullah Baloch is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Gwadar.

All photos by the author