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Book Launching at PPF Karachi: “Balochistan Mein Ablagh-E-Aama-Aghaz wa Irteqa” by Professor Seemi Naghmana Tahir

Date: January 20, 2007
Location: Vicky Zeitlin Media Library, Karachi

The launching ceremony of the book titled “Balochistan Mein Ablagh-E-Aama — Aghaz wa Irteqa”, authored by Professor Seemi Naghmana Tahir, Chairperson of the Department of Mass Communication, Balochistan University, was organised by the Pakistan Press Foundation at its Vicky Zeitlin Media Library, Karachi on January 20, 2007.

Speakers included mass communication professors, liticians, editors of local dailies and media-related personalities.

They lauded the author on her hard work in an attempt to write a historical account of the development of mass media in Balochistan, dating back to the times of the British reign.

They said it was a first effort and commended the author for documenting various stages of press and media development in the most under-developed province of Pakistan.

They said although the focus was on media, the book also contained references that shed light on some aspects of the province’s political history and facts, including the accession of the princely state of Kalat.

They said peace in Balochistan was linked with the country’s stability, integrity and progress. In spite of its important geo-political location, the province has failed to receive attention, and no serious attempt had been made to address the genuine grievances of the province and its people. As a result, the province had always remained in a perpetual turmoil.

Javed Jabbar, former federal information minister and Chairman, Citizens’ Media Commission of Pakistan, remarked that keeping in view the scale of distance in Balochistan, the book emphasises the role of media in highlighting the miseries of the Baloch people.

He said many people in Pakistan had never visited Balochistan and the only means of information for them of the country’s largest province were through print and electronic media. He called for promoting communication between the residents of Balochistan and the rest of the provinces for better understanding of each other.

Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Secretary General, National Party Balochistan, from an analytical viewpoint said the media should provide a correct account on the political developments in the province.

He alleged that in British colonial era, the people of Balochistan were deprived of education to prevent any printed material from spreading to the educated class of the province. The situation did not improve after the creation of Pakistan.

They deteriorated further after the break up of the one-unit system, but the Baloch nationalists and socialists continued to struggle to highlight problems concerning the lack of development and deprivation of the basic facilities for the people.

He lauded the author on the effort to document the history of medi

Author Dr. Seemi Naghmana Tahir presenting her book to Professor Zakaria Sajid. Present with them are Mr.Muqtida Mansoor(left) and Dr. Shahida Qazi(right)
a in Balochistan.

Scholar and former Chairman, Department of Mass Communications,University of Karachi, Dr. Zakaria Sajid said the book on the journalistic history of Balochistan was a great effort at a time when there was no written record on the subject in Pakistan.

He said Balochistan has held a strategic position since centuries, being a wealthy provider of mineral resources, but the British rulers deliberately ignored its economic and social development.

Journalism gained popularity after the1970s when daily newspapers such as Jang and Mashriq were published for the first time in Quetta by Fasih Iqbal. The printing of the daily ‘Intikhab’ started a revolution for journalism as it highlighted issues faced by the masses in the province.

Professor Zakaria Sajid said the author had disclosed facts that the people of Pakistan had previously been unaware of and commended the book as being a ‘milestone’ in the historical documentation of journalistic efforts in Balochistan.

The author, Dr. Seemi Naghmana Tahir, informed that prior to her work, there had been no written work on the journalistic history of Balochistan. Her purpose was to provide transcedental information on Balochistan’s media organizations and their role in its development.

She gave an account of her experiences when collecting historical data with references of the print media in Balochistan, while remaining objective, and hoped for researchers to carry on her work.

Former Chairperson,Department of Mass Communications, Dr. Shahida Qazi said the book gave a precise historical account of the media in Balochistan, a province that was without access to newspapers in undivided India.

She urged the journalists to write more analytical and informative articles on issues and problems in Balochistan. She declared that that the province received attention of the media only when serious problems arose..

Editor of daily ‘Awami Awaz’, Jabbar Khattak, found the book impressive from its contextual point, as well as the effort made to highlight the media in Balochistan. However, it lacked references to official documents and records, and had not covered important aspects such as press freedom in Balochistan, especially the commercial media and government control on censorship where freedom of expression is compromised. He suggested these may be mentioned in the revised editions of the book.

Editor of Balochistan Urdu daily ‘Intekhab’, Nargis Baloch commended the author on her research and contribution. However, information regarding media could have been more detailed had she performed extensive research in the rural areas of the province.

The programme concluded with an interactive question answer session.


List of Speakers
Javed Jabbar
Founding Chairperson
Citizens’ Media Commission of Pakistan
Mir Hasil Bizenjo
National Party
Professor Zakaria Sajid
Former Chairperson
Department of Mass Communication Karachi University
Dr Shahida Kazi
Department of Mass Communication Jinnah University
Nargis Baloch
Karachi University
Muqtida Mansoor
Editorial Coordinator
Pakistan Press Foundation
Jabbar Khattak
Daily Awami Awaz