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Risky business?--Running a Baloch website: Dr. Arif Barakzai, a member of the BSO and a lecturer at Uppsala University in Sweden, died after 'falling' 11 floors from the balcony of his apartment on Jan 10, 2008. Dr. Barakzai ran a website devoted to Baloch culture: http://bizmkaar.com. It is unknown what if anything Norwegian authorities have determined about the circumstances of Dr. Barkazai's death. Munir Mengal is still imprisoned in Pakistan, in part, for his relationship with the website balochvoice.com. Balach Marri ran balochvoice.com until his death in November 2007. In 2006 Reporters Without Borders condemned a decision by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block four Baluch nationalist websites for carrying "misleading information." Others who have suffered the long reach of Pakistan agencies include: Samiullah Baloch, a social activist and President of Balochistan Institute For Future Development, who was kidnapped along with his brother Obaidullah Ali in 2006. Both were subsequently released following the intervention of Amnesty International (Samiullah ran the website www.bifd.net). Senator Sanaullah Baloch, brother of the kidnappees and a prominent politician of Balochistan who now lives in exile in Europe, suffered an attempt on his life in London in 2006. Sanaullah Baloch's website is: http://www.sanabaloch.page.tl/Home.htm.

Authorities block access to Baloch nationalist sites

Français: Les autorités interdisent l'accès aux sites nationalistes baloutches

Country/Topic: Pakistan
Date: 28 April 2006
Source: Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Person(s):
Target(s): Internet/website(s)
Type(s) of violation(s): closed
Urgency: Flash

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned a decision by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on 25 April 2006 to block four Baluch nationalist websites for carrying "misleading information." The move comes two months after the PTA blocked access to 12 websites displaying the controversial Mohammed cartoons.

"Only a judge should be able to order the filtering of an online publication," the press freedom organisation said. "The PTA should not have this power, as it is an administrative entity directly linked to the government."

The PTA's closure order cites four Baluch sites and a Hindu site, http://www.hinduunity.com, that is very hostile towards Muslims. The four Baluch sites are http://www.balochvoice.com (which carries news about the fighting in Baluchistan as well as international media reports), http://www.baloch2000.org and http://www.balochfront.com (which support the Baluch nationalists), and http://www.sanabaloch.com (a Baluch politician's site).

While the PTA decree accuses the sites of containing misleading information, a PTA official referred to the sites as having "ties" with Baluch nationalist leaders and said the decision to ban them was reached jointly with the government.

The PTA blocked 12 sites including http://www.blogger.com on 28 February for carrying the Mohammed cartoons that were first published in Denmark. This decision was never endorsed by a court. For more information on the case: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=16678

Meanwhile, there is still no word of Munir Mengal, the head of Baluchi-language TV station Baloch Voice, who disappeared on arriving in Karachi on 7 April. His family thinks military intelligence officers kidnapped him at the airport. For more information on this case: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=17053

A southwestern province with 5.6 million ethnic Baluchis, Baluchistan has seen sporadic fighting for several years between the Pakistani army and armed nationalists who want independence. It is very hard for journalists to work there.

MORE INFORMATION:


For further information, contact Julien Pain, RSF Internet Desk, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 71, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: internet@rsf.org, Internet: http://www.internet.rsf.org

**For further information on the Munir Mengal case, see IFEX alert of 13 April 2006; for information on the blocking of websites publishing the Danish cartoons, see alert of 7 March 2006**