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First Female Baloch Olympic participant Madiea Ghafoor is all set to make history at Rio 2016

Ghafoor was raised in Amsterdam and is the granddaughter of Karachi-based politician late Lal Baksh Rind

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Madiea Ghafoor. Image source: youtube
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August 19, 2017: 23-year-old Madiea Ghafoor becomes the first Baloch girl to ever participate in the Olympics. She is going to represent the Netherlands in the 4X400 relay at Rio Olympics, today.

Ghafoor was raised in Amsterdam and is the granddaughter of Karachi-based politician late Lal Baksh Rind. Her parents belong to Lyari town, Sindh, Pakistan. An avid track runner since childhood, Ghafoor’s potential was spotted when she was 13 years old at her school by her coach Sammy Monsels. Her coach for the Rio Olympics is Urtha Rozenstruik.

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“I feel honoured to be a part of this huge event and to be an inspiration for the Baloch people, especially the youth,” says Madiea, who was unaware of the fact that she was the first Baloch female athlete to ever represent a country. She advises all aspiring athlete to never give up on their dreams.

List of her achievements include-

• Winning a bronze medal in women’s 400m race at the European Athletics Junior Championships, Estonia 2011.

• Bringing laurels for the Netherlands at European championships where she has also cleared till the semi-finals.

• With a total score of 1130, Ghafoor stands at the rank 1200 in the Women’s Overall Ranking, as stated by www.all-athletics.com.

Besides the honour and pride that she carries while preparing for the relay to be held today, she was not expecting to be selected for the Olympics after facing one year of severe injury. The selection came as a thrill to her.

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Madiea dedicates two days a week to the gymnasium, and at least six times preparing for her tournaments on the track. After learning that she is one-of-a-kind Baloch athlete, she is more determined and mentally confident than ever.

NewsGram wishes Ghafoor all the luck and success for her relay! Girl power all the way!

– prepared by Chetna Karnani of NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak
American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.