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TODAY about 100 daily newspapers are being published regularly. Urdu, being the national language, tops the list, followed by English language newspapers.

As for regional languages, Sindhi papers dominate the scene, followed by Pashto and Punjabi. Balochi, being the language of more than 60 per cent inhabitants of Balochistan, is the most ill - fated in this regard.

One of the ancient languages of this region, Balochi still awaits a well-established press and a well-circulated newspaper. Although Nawa-i-Watan is the only existing Balochi newspaper, it has so far failed to get a wide-ranging circulation across the Balochi-speaking public.

It is mainly distributed in Quetta to a limited readership.

Owing to low circulation, the newspaper has unfortunately failed to gain the status of the opinion-maker across the province.

Besides newspapers, there is a dearth of periodicals and magazines that specifically cover the contemporary socio-economic issues in the Balochi language.

Nevertheless, a few literary periodicals assign spaces for regional issues other than literature.

It is widely accepted that apart from opinion-making and catering to the needs of the public, the press plays a worth- mentioning role in the promotion of a certain language. Today, a myriad of languages are facing serious threats to their survival, mainly because they are reduced to oral form.

It is time Baloch journalists and newspaper owners pondered upon this grave issue in the best interest of the Balochi language and the press.

FAZAL BALOCH Turbat