Siddiq Baloch was a powerful, impressive and one of the finest journalistic persona of 20th century Pakistan. Started his career in Karachi, lala Siddiq wasn’t an ordinary reporter / he was a warrior with a mission to report truthfully and be voice of voiceless.
First I met Siddique saib in early 1990’s during my heydays of student activism. As a Baloch student veteran, Waja Siddiq was an inspiration for all Baloch youth. He was a journalistic icon. His fine English, vast national network and politico-journalist experience was hardly seen in other journalists of his age. He was a fatherly figure for all of us those who wanted to learn and experience complexities of politics and journalism.
As a student leader we were always eager to raise our issues and be heard in national media particularly in English papers. There was no social-media and hardly any national level reporter was willing to translate or transform our harsh, less polite and war-like tune in to media-acceptable language. He helped us and guided us on many occasions, while addressing and raising national critical issues, to understand and combine politics, diplomacy and journalism.
Much has been written on lala Siddiq and his long politico-journalistic career. He was true democrat in his views –committed to promotion and protection of justice for all and particularly for the people of Balochistan.
As a political figure in the National Awami Party, lala was very close to Balochistan’s political leadership, served as a press secretary of Mir Ghaus Baksh during his Governorship. During Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto period when NAP Balochistan government was undemocratically dismissed, Lal Siddiq along with top NAP leadership was imprisoned for five years under the Hyderabad conspiracy case.
Lala was a very influential figure amongst journalist community in Karrachi, country’s main media hub. He got electedas a president of the Karachi Union of Journalists in 1981 when Gen. Zia was in charge of the country with draconian laws against the print media.
Lala courageously faced multiple challanges in troubled city of Karachi. Along with Zia’s black laws, censorship and intimidation from MQM.
In 90s lala moved to Balochistan and started his own venture, Balochistan Express and later Azadi (Urdu) newspapers and attracted local readers and particularly voiceless classes those issues and concerns couldn’t find place in the national media.
Lala continued writing of strong, factual editorials to highlight Balochistan issues. With his vast experience, he was not only an influential opinion maker but also a strong proponent of transperancey and reforms in Balochistan.
He vastly contributed on political challenges, center-province issues, natural resource development and fair share to the masses.
Lala had a great passion and desire for prosperous Balochistan. He wrote about Gas, Saindak, Gwadar, CPEC and infrastructure deficiencies. In an article written in the newspaper, he owned, The Daily Balochistan Express, Siddiq expressed his life-long desire that the people of Balochistan should benefit from their own resources.
“The Federal Government should surrender all the revenue in favor of the Government of Balochistan for the simple reason that the Government had failed to develop the basic infrastructure for future development during the past 70 long years.”
Lala left behind a treasure trove of knowledge in terms of his best writings, editorials, reports, articles and well authored and compiled books.
It’s now up to Balochistan’s younger generation, aspiring professional journalists, media practitioners, researchers, historians and political activists to benefit from Lala’s treasure trove and continue his legacy of fine and pro/people journalism.