WASHINGTON - In an 'unusual decision, the US has granted political asylum to a Pakistani journalist from Balochistan despite Pakistan being a democracy with a vibrant news media, The Washington Post reported on Monday. Siraj Ahmed Malik, who is on a fellowship at the University of Arizona, applied for asylum on August 19th following reports he received of kidnappings and killings of his fellow journalists and friends in Balochistan. Two weeks ago, the Post said, Maliks petition was granted, the newspaper said. 'It was a highly unusual decision by US immigration officials, given Pakistans status: a strategic partner in Washingtons war against Islamic terrorism; a longtime recipient of US aid; and a democracy with an elected civilian government and vibrant national news media, Pamela Constable, the veteran Post correspondent, wrote, without elaborating. In his petition, Malik, 28, said that his work as a journalist and ethnic activist in Balochistan, where he had exposed military abuses, made him likely to be arrested, tortured, abducted and 'ultimately killed by the government if he returned. 'I never wanted to leave my country, but I dont want to become a martyr, either, said Malik, who now lives in Clarendon, Virginia, from where he checks with sources back home to update his online newspaper 'Baloch Truth. 'Whats going on in Balochistan is like the dirty war in Argentina, he was quoted as saying by the Post. 'I need to be telling the story, but I cant afford to become the story. Malik acknowledges that as an advocate for the Baloch nationalist cause, his journalism is hardly neutral. 'Balochistan needs a messenger to the world, he said, itching to get back to his reporting. 'Here in the US, I dont have an office or money, but at least I can stay alive and get the message out, he added. At the State Departments daily briefing Monday afternoon, when an Indianjournalist questioned about Maliks case, the spokesman said that cases like these involved confidentiality. The United States, he said, was working with Pakistan to strengthen democratic institution, but Washington does have some concerns that were raised with Pakistan from time to time.