“…[Declan] Walsh had heard about a spree of disappearances and killings of rebels, activists, students, and lawyers by the Pakistani authorities in the province. It was a dangerous story for a foreign reporter to pursue, but he understood the moral import of the situation and was carefully investigating it. The Baloch man spoke with great emotion about horrors he had witnessed and heard about. Walsh listened carefully, asked detailed questions, and sought more names, references, and contacts who might make his visit to the province possible.
Four months later, the piece, “Pakistan’s Secret Dirty War,” appeared in the Guardian. The opening paragraph is worth quoting for the sheer force of its writing, for the way it conveys the tale of a people oppressed and forgotten, for the way it reminds one what a reporter must do:
The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen. Flesh is sliced with knives or punctured with drills; genitals are singed with electric prods. In some cases the bodies are unrecognisable, sprinkled with lime or chewed by wild animals. All have a gunshot wound in the head.
The foreign correspondent’s job in countries like India and Pakistan, which have a significant English-speaking population, can be both easy and difficult. A good reporter is often welcomed by the cultural élite, and doors are opened. But an American or British correspondent in the subcontinent is also judged by a wide range of highly educated, well-trained people. Each story is discussed, the biases surgically examined, the writing debated. In this age of poorly paid freelancers, there are very few impressive foreign correspondents in South Asia. Until a few days ago, when the government decided to expel him, Declan Walsh was one of the few foreign reporters working in Pakistan whom everybody seemed to love and respect…”
— from “Declan Walsh, Expelled,” an article by Basharat Peer in the New Yorker which looks at the recent expulsion from Pakistan of New York Times’ reporter Declan Walsh