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Quetta Pakistan Afghan Refugees

Hey fellow Lightstalkers,

I am Photojournalist from Australia. I am planing to Travel to Quetta from Karachi in early February.

The story I am hoping to work on involves Afghan Refugees in Quetta. I might be there for 2 weeks or 2 months. Really depends how things go.

There are many Hazara Afghans making the journey to Australia, so I am hoping to do a story on the point of origin, Quetta.

Does anybody know the security situation in Quetta at the moment?
I am prepared for it to be a little sketchy, but is there anyone targeting journalist specifically?

Can anyone help me with information on the Afghan hazara refugees? or anybody know someone working in around Quetta? ngo’s etc

Is it safe to travel from Karachi to Quetta by bus or train?

Thanks in advance


by matthew abbott at 2012-01-10 08:31:55 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

02 Feb 2012 00:02

Your first point of contact should be UNHCR in Pakistan. They will probbly confirm what I am about to write, which is that you have no chance of doing this story without the cooperation of the govt/ISI/military which you will NOT get. You will need a NOC (No Objection Certificate) issued by the Ministry of Interior – I didnt get a single one issued in 2 years!

Secondly, I strongly suggest you DO NOT travel by public transport of any sort from Karachi to Quetta expcept perhaps by air, then you will be picked up by the ISI at the airport and arrested if you dont have an NOC, ISI have a desk as you exit the baggae hall – but it beats being abudcted and/or worse on a bus or train by militants or militia.

Quetta is in more or less lockdown for foriegners, except those working for the NGO’s and even then, most of them prohibit international staff from being anywhere in Baluchistan. Given the political sensitivity of the region, the BLA insurgency and its proximity to Afghanistan, you will quickly become a target, you wont survive 2 weeks, let alone 2 months.

Even if you had the right contacts to get you in covertly you’ll probaly have 2 days max and working openly in the camps is almost impossible given the amount of insurgents who shelter at the camps. You clearly dont have contacts on the ground there otherwise you wouldnt be asking here.

Im trying to give the benefit of my 2 years experience of being based in Pakistan Matthew, this project isnt going to work for you unless you miraculously get the support/acceptance of the government/military. Given the level of insurgecy there at the moment Im almost 100% ceratin thats not going to happen. The security situation in that region of the country is worse than anywhere else in the country, including FATA and KP.

It isnt just a little sketchy, without concrete, reputable contacts on the ground there’s a very high risk of being abducted or killed, not just becasue you’re a journalist but also you’re a westerner. Please dont do this project.

If in doubt contact some of the other journos and photogs, UNHCR etc in the country, im pretty sure they’ll share my concerns about this project and offer the same advice. Not knocking the project idea but somethings just cant be done in Pakistan at the moment…

by Jason Tanner | 10 Jan 2012 20:01 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Jason stated the truth. Safety and security first. May this preject needs a diplomatic level of contact through Government and or UN agencies. I am a Hazara and residing in Quetta. Else I know people who can provide reasonable assistance in your project.

Zulfiqar Ali

by zulfiqar ali | 11 Jan 2012 18:01 | Quetta, Pakistan | | Report spam→
Hello Methew Abboth
I have sent you an email to your Google Account, Please check it

by Eltaf Hussain | 12 Jan 2012 14:01 | Pakistan, Pakistan | | Report spam→

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matthew abbott, photographer matthew abbott
Turramurra , Australia
Jason Tanner, Photographer Jason Tanner
San Jose , Costa Rica
zulfiqar ali, zulfiqar ali
[location unknown]
Eltaf Hussain, Graphic Designer, Blogger Eltaf Hussain
Graphic Designer, Blogger
Kabul , Afghanistan ( KBL )


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