How Conflict-Ridden Balochistan’s Citizens Are Focusing On Building Libraries

After a tweet by Paulo Cohelo, a Brazilian novelist, asking people to donate books to a library in Wadh, Balochistan, the number of libraries in the province is on the rise.

In the past few months, more than 15 libraries have been established across the southwestern province by the local community to promote peace and reading culture.

People have made good use of social media to ask for donations in the form of chairs and tables and books. Civil society, politicians, and the general public have appreciated the move and termed it a step towards positive social change.

A public library set up by Shaheed Baz Muhammad Kakar Foundation (SBMKF) in 2016 in the memory of martyred Quetta lawyers provided the impetus to the establishment of libraries across the province. It was established by a brother of slain renowned lawyer Dr Lal Muhammad Kakar.

In Aug 2016, an attack killed over 70 people, mostly lawyers, leaving the judicial system of the province in a lurch.

Kakar says that the foundation is aimed at setting up a digital libraries network. "Our mission is to honour, remember and acknowledged the service of our martyred lawyers," he adds. According to Kakar, libraries will be established to honour the memory of slain lawyers in their respective hometowns.

SBMKF is struggling to create a friendly atmosphere for reading culture despite financial hardship, he says. "We are committed to establishing reading rooms to promote peace, harmony, love and eliminate illiteracy.

Muzamil Khan, who is a part of this campaign, says it is high time that the people set up libraries in their towns to stimulate intellectual growth. He said, "The joint family system and tribalism are hurdles in creating a reading atmosphere in the remote areas."

Banari Mengal says more libraries will help pave for healthy debates in society and added that donating books is great to help to those who want to learn more.