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Haroon Baloch

Islamabad, Pakistan
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About Haroon
Haroon Baloch is a journalist and digital rights researcher based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He holds M. Phil degree in Media Studies from the Islamia University of Bahawalpur and successfully completed his thesis exploring the role of the Facebook in Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan. He has over 10 years experience of working as reporter with multiple news organizations, including television, radio, multimedia, wire service and print media. He has been affiliated as researcher and advocacy officer with the country's pioneer digital rights non-governmental organization Bytes for All, Pakistan since 2014. His diverse experience in the field of media and journalism, and international exposure enabled him to teach media students at a university on contractual basis.
English Hindi Punjabi
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Politics Current Affairs Technology

Pakistan’s digital ID card keeps millions locked out

04 Apr 2024  |  eco-business.com
The article discusses the case of Rubina, a woman from Karachi, Pakistan, who won a court case allowing her to obtain a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) based on her mother's citizenship record, challenging the previous requirement of presenting a father's ID. The CNIC is crucial for accessing various government services and benefits in Pakistan. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is working to include those previously excluded from the system. However, issues such as privacy concerns and data breaches have been raised, with vulnerable groups at risk. The government is said to be introducing a data privacy policy soon. The article highlights the broader implications for marginalized groups in Pakistan and the importance of inclusive digital ID systems.

Islamabad High Court Rules Against Telecom Network Shutdowns

04 Apr 2024  |  ihrb.org
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that telecom network shutdowns in Pakistan are illegal, rejecting the state's security rationale. Pakistan has frequently experienced network suspensions during public events, often unannounced, which the PTA has implemented. Advocate Umer Gillani, with the support of four citizens, filed a public interest petition against this practice. The report 'Security V. Access: The Impact of Mobile Network Shutdowns in Pakistan' played a crucial role in the case. The verdict is seen as a global precedent against arbitrary network disruptions, which have left Pakistani citizens without access to essential services. The judgment did not address the telecom companies' responsibilities to consumers, despite their role in government-led human rights infringements. The article discusses the implications of the verdict and the responsibilities of telecom companies under international human rights standards.

Multimedia story on Cholistani folk music

Passing through the patchy green land with sandy surrounding a huge flock of bulls popped up all of a sudden from the dust cloud. Quite surprisingly, a dog and a middle-aged shepherd carrying a stick and a flute were managing the whole herd.

The number of forced conversions of lower-caste Hindu or Dalit girls is on the rise in Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Activists and victim’s families say the young girls are suffering in the hands of a few criminal Islamist who fearlessly seduce or kidnap the girls for their lust and end up forcefully converting them to Islam.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has opened a new era of development opportunities in Pakistan. Economic interests have strongly compelled the emerging super power China to spread the network of communications, including roads and railways in Pakistan for accessing the strategically important Strait of Hormuz from the shortest possible approach via Kashgar and Gwadar.

Making Ralli quilts is part and parcel of the desert life in Cholistan. Women have been doing this for ages for domestic use in Cholistan of South Punjab, Umerkot, Tharparkar in Sindh province of Pakistan and Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujrat. These quilts have gained international recognition in recent times but Cholistani quilts in South Punjab region of Pakistan have received little attention despite the delicate hand embroidery on them.

"Hundred Quarters" is a slum area of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan where the Plan International is working to improve the lives of marginalized communities. Youth Visionaries a community based group established after PI's staff put a lot of their efforts with young girls and boys on bolstering their confidence and brushing up communication skills. With the passage of time the group became popular and started delivering their theatre performances to commercial events thus earning their livelihood in a respectable manner. ROHI, a local TV channel got the wind of their popularity and came up with this news package to highlight their work and encourage other youth.

Speechless Republic

25 May 2017  |  Daily Times
The article discusses Pakistan's poor human rights record, with a focus on civil liberties and freedom of expression, particularly online. It highlights upcoming reviews by the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Human Rights Council. The article mentions the abduction of bloggers and activists, the rise in blasphemy cases, and the misuse of laws like the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 to suppress dissent. It also touches on the government's crackdown on social media criticism, especially against the military, and the chilling effect on free speech ahead of the general elections. The writer, a journalist and digital rights researcher, criticizes the government's approach and calls for a more democratic handling of freedom of expression.

Silencing dissent

09 May 2017  |  Daily Times
The article discusses the climate of fear and self-censorship in Pakistan due to the misuse of blasphemy laws and the rise of vigilantism. The author expresses concern over the shrinking space for critical and dissenting speech, citing personal experiences and recent incidents where individuals were targeted for their views. The article references the Rabat Plan of Action, a UN initiative that defines hate speech and was co-sponsored by Pakistan, yet remains unimplemented in the country. The author criticizes the Pakistani courts for their failure to deliver timely justice and highlights the trend of using blasphemy accusations to suppress progressive voices on social media. The writer, a journalist and digital rights researcher, calls for the repeal of blasphemy laws in line with global standards and the protection of freedom of speech.

Right to freedom of expression, privacy, online campaigning and peaceful protests are at serious stake under PECB.

29 Jul 2016  |  The Express Tribune
The article discusses the implications of the proposed Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) on freedom of expression, privacy, and online campaigning in Pakistan. It highlights that the bill, which is under review by the senate's standing committee and sub-committee on information technology, lacks protections for journalists, whistleblowers, and could lead to increased censorship by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) without judicial oversight. The author criticizes the bill for potentially criminalizing satire, criticism, and investigative journalism, and for not adequately addressing issues of child pornography, unauthorized access to information, and digital surveillance. The article also references past incidents, such as the Mina stampede, to illustrate the potential for misuse of the bill to suppress dissent and mentions the use of spyware and phone tapping by intelligence agencies in Pakistan.

Women At Work

31 Aug 2015  |  Newsline
The article discusses the low participation of women in the Pakistani workforce, which stands at only 15.76 percent. It highlights the wage disparity, with women earning an average monthly wage significantly lower than the government's notified minimum wage. The article compares this situation with developed countries where women have equal working wages. It presents statistics from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showing the distribution of the female workforce across Pakistan's provinces, with Punjab having the highest percentage of working women but the lowest average wages. The article also touches on the cultural barriers women face, quoting gender activist Zoya Rehman from Bytes for All, who advocates for increased female workforce participation. It notes that rural women are more active in the workforce than their urban counterparts, despite earning less, and concludes with a call to recognize the economic and social benefits of women working outside the home.

The melting glaciers: A looming food crisis

18 Jun 2012  |  The Express Tribune
The article discusses the impact of glacial retreat in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan, on water resources and food security. It highlights the dependence of Pakistan's freshwater resources on snow and glacial melting, which are sensitive to climate change. The country has faced severe droughts and floods in the past, which have had devastating effects on the population and agriculture. The article also points out human activities, such as the burning of 'dirty' fuels and military presence in Siachen, as contributing factors to the rapid melting of glaciers. Experts like Arshad H Abbasi and Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry are cited, emphasizing the need for regional cooperation between India and Pakistan to address the issue and ensure agricultural prosperity and food security.

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