If you’re suffering from writer’s block, try writing on Balochistan. Your problem will be solved. So what if Balochistan’s problems remain unresolved even after the publication of your masterpiece! You need not worry about your lack of understanding of the subject, because using your mightier-than-the-sword pen on Balochistan is an accomplishment in its own right.
Start your article with the universally accepted fact that Balochistan is the largest but most impoverished province in Pakistan. That is a pretty awesome opening line, but if you’re a scrupulous writer — as such creatures are especially vulnerable to writer’s block — and want to sound different from other Balochistan experts, you should seek the help of Google or MS Word for synonyms. Replace the word ‘largest’ with ‘biggest’ and ‘impoverished’ with ‘poor’ or ‘under-developed’.
After passing this first milestone, you need to decide where your sympathies lie: with the Baloch cause or the military. Like all Balochistan experts, you would of course opt for a neutral line. That is the most professional choice, because a good writer should never take sides, especially in matters where no personal or emotional stakes are involved.
Having decided on your line, think of some strong adjectives to describe the miserable conditions the Baloch people must be living in. If you have no idea at all of their resentments, use your imagination; write anything terrible and, rest assured, it will eventually emerge that what you wrote was the truth. For instance, mention they don’t have colleges, hospitals, gas, electricity, toilets, or whatever comes to your mind instantly.
Don’t forget to mention the missing persons’ issue. I know ‘missing persons’ is a vague and tricky term, but a little Googling will help you discover that they are a bunch of ‘persons’ who are missing from their homes and their families posit they have been picked up by the agencies. All writers are curious creatures and you and I are no exceptions, but don’t let your curiosity waste your precious time; after all, you have to file your column before the deadline. Therefore, you should resist the temptation to find out which agencies are being blamed. Also, if Google recommends Mohammed Hanif’s recent article on missing persons, skip it because your writer’s block will return if you ignore my warning and read it anyway. One last word of caution on the missing persons’ issue: don’t trust the numbers given by Baloch nationalists, who maintain that such persons are in the thousands — an absurdly exaggerated figure. To be on the safe side, write ‘some’ people are missing and admonish the government to ensure their early recovery.
Also, don’t shy away from relating how past governments have discriminated against the people of Balochistan. If you are a retired military man, reproach Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the 1973 operation in Balochistan. If you are a Musharraf-hater, accuse him of murdering Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Having said that, and don’t forget that only courageous writers of your kind can say such things, you should now balance your write-up. That’s the easiest part. Tell your readers that the Baloch sardars are equally responsible for the backwardness of the Baloch people and that they are against development to prolong their hold on the bird-brained tribesmen. They are such a vicious lot that you can easily blame them for any sin under the sun. You just need to trust your instincts. If you haven’t ever seen a Baloch sardar, think of the most sinister Chaudhry in Punjab or a blood-thirsty wadera in Sindh. If you haven’t had the misfortune to see either, recall the sadistic actions of the villain of a Zia-era PTV drama serial.
However, no newspaper or magazine on the earth will have enough space to accommodate your piece if you list all the crimes of the sardars. Therefore, for space constraints, you should resist the temptation to write more on this subject. Instead, save some of your revelations for your next column as writer’s block is a recurring disease.