The Baloch Hal Banned
QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan has decided to ban Balochistan’s first online English newspaper, The Baloch Hal, on the advice of sensitive government departments, reported Dawn News.
According to the details, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which monitors the internet operations in the country, has confirmed to have received instructions from high-ups in the government to ban the Baloch Hal, which is currently the most widely quoted newspaper about Pakistan’s gas-rich province of Balochistan.
“We deeply regret the official decision,” said Malik Siraj Akbar, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, “we have always provided equal and balanced coverage to the government and the opposition in our newspaper. The government should bring public whatever “objectionable” material it ever found in our newspaper. The ban is intended to disconnect Balochistan’s news link with the rest of the world. This is a setback to the freedom of press.”
The Baloch Hal was launched on November 20, last year and was preparing to celebrate its first launching anniversary in the next two weeks. The government had also banned another Baloch newspaper, Daily Asaap, last year and besieged the offices of Daily Azadi and Balochistan Express.
The signs of ban appeared on Saturday when readers of the newspaper complained from different Pakistani cities saying they were unable to access the newspaper.
“Every time I try to access the site, I get a message which says it has been blocked on the instructions of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),” said Zubir Baloch, a resident of Karachi and a user of the services of World Call Group, a telecommunication Company.
The government of Balochistan had also been recently disturbed with the critical editorials of the newspaper.
” The spokesman of the chief minister of Balochistan accused us of dictating the government but we still published his point of view because we believe in the freedom of the press,” said Nazia Baloch, Op-Ed editor of the newspaper.