logo of the Jang Group, Pakistan

In a fresh bomb shell, the Geo News has reported that three other women had been ‘buried alive’ in Balochistan. We all know what the truth in the whole matter is. The entire Jang Group has been engaged in defaming the Baloch society and its culture for a long time. Its so-called leading investigative reporter, Rauf Kalasara, affiliated with The News [newspaper] has been constantly fed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies. Ironically, the fellow has emerged as the sole champion of the women’s rights and the biggest detractor of the Baloch traditions while sitting in Islamabad and doing table-cum-telephonic stories. I wonder how come the educated people in Pakistan not persuade him to get out of his Islamabad office room and investigate the matter objectively rather completely relying on the intelligence reports and conducting telephonic interviews.

Yet, Rauf has not been able to prove evidence for a single story of his that the girls were ACTUALLY BURIED ALIVE. I am not denying their murders. But I am bothered with the careless reference given to the burial alive of girls. Such reports come from the people who are oblivious to the Baloch history, culture and traditions. Baloch are the people whose society witnessed a prolonged war between the Rind and Lashar tribes only in the favor of a guest lady’s, Gohar Jathni, honor. Baloch across the province stood and loudly protested the gang rape of a Sindhi lady doctor, Dr. Shahzia Khalid, by a Punjabi military officer.

On the top of it, we are being taught manners to ‘properly and respectfully’ deal with our women. I wonder how the people who have a history of gang raping their women and parading them naked publicly on the directives of Jirgas [referring to Mukhtaran Mai case], have become so civilized overnight and started to teach our grandmothers how to suck eggs.

There is no gainsaying the fact that girls/ women get consistently killed on the name of honor in many parts of Sindh and Balochistan in cases of honor-killing. No sane person can support these activities. They are worth condemnation. Yet, journalism that promotes fear among the masses and sensationalizes an issue should equally be condemned. Since Jang Group failed to give any evidence that the girls had really been buried alive, it resorted to another campaign to say that police was giving the a cover-up to the whole issue. That said, Jang was bent upon forcing the police and the local people to confess that they had buried the women alive [even if they had not done so].

Technically, a journalist is required to use terms such as ‘alleged murder’, ‘alleged burial alive’ until the charges are proved legally or medically. The first medical report issued by Dr. Shamim Mishwani clearly indicated that the girls had been shot and then buried. There was, however, no sign of burying them alive. In that case, no media house has the right to insist on putting words into the mouth of the police and others that the girls were buried alive. After all, our responsibility is to report what the evidences available indicate. If we journalists become partisan and start disrespecting the medical reports and police versions simply to insist that what we had said, that too without any evidence, is still correct, then this, I believe, is the worst form of sensational journalism.

Such highly subjective journalism is going to lead Pakistan no where. Jang Group has to review its approach towards so-called investigative journalism.


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