On the second death anniversary of Siddiq Baluch, I feel proud to declare that he was the man who taught me the A, B, C of journalism. Baluch popularly known as Mama in Pakistan journalist community, was my mentor in journalism. He was the man who first gave me the chance to write for his newspaper Daily Balochistan Express in the mid-1990s. I commenced writing columns on Palmistry on weekly basis in Daily Balochistan Express. This was perhaps the beginning of my career as writer and journalist.
Mama discovered a writer in me and encouraged me to write for Stage & Screen, a weekly magazine published by Daily Balochistan Express. He then encouraged me to write news analysis on current affairs when I was preparing for competitive exams. Gradually, my interest developed in journalism and I regularly contributed articles to daily Balochistan Express. He had trust in me and frequently I served as editor of the Balochistan Express in his absence.
He convinced me to join Daily Balochistan Express as Assistant Editor when I had managed to leave Quetta for Karachi. I edited the newspaper for two years and got the opportunity to learn journalism under his benign supervision and management as editor. Then I wrote business articles on Balochistan economy for Daily Dawn. Baluch had been my inspiration that created in me the passion for writing profession. He always guided me with his valuable opinion on local issues. I feel proud to mention here that I compiled his work in articles form and convinced him to write a book on Balochistan. Then his valuable work, “Political Economy of Balochistan” came to the fore in published form. He commented on my book, ‘Economic Development of Balochistan’, and expressed his well wishes for my work on Balochistan.
Siddiq Baluch was a born journalist naturally having an extraordinary ‘nose-for-news’ sense of a good journalist. He was thoroughly creative but not speculative. He was an intellectual treasure trove, the Balochistan and the country has lost. He had great knowledge of the province and fully cognizant with the geopolitical and geo economic importance of Balochistan. He could speak on any local issue for hours. He wrote on Gwadar port when no one in the public even knew about the importance of this strategic port. He had a vision about economic development of this least developed province and he served the local people by raising their issues and problems in his thousands of writings in different publications. With his demise, Balochistan in particular lost a true well-wisher, a scholar and a bold journalist.
Baluch was a man of strong nerves. He once told me that he once abruptly decided to give up smoking after having been a chain smoker for twenty years. He had an extraordinary will power. He struggled hard in life and invested his energy in making Balochistan Express and daily Azadi the voice of people of Balochistan. He trained many young journalists whose stories today make headlines in the international media. With his demise in fact, the country has deprived of an institution that produced dozens of reporters and writers. With his valuable work, Siddiq Baluch would always remain a source of inspiration for young generation of the journalists, particularly those belonging to Balochistan.
Recalling the memories and the time I spent in his company is painful for me, but his pieces of advice always proved a beacon of light in my career. May his soul rest in eternal peace.