Intl’ media started
covering the month-
long protest in Gwadar

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GWADAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday instructed two of his cabinet members to travel to the country’s southern port city of Gwadar to address the issues faced by its residents but according to reliable sources, the ministers did not arrive in the city to meet the protestors.
Gwadar is at the heart of a multibillion-dollar regional connectivity project jointly launched by China and Pakistan. Despite its strategic significance, however, its residents have been protesting for nearly a month to demand their basic rights.
Among other things, these protestors, who are mostly affiliated with border trade and fishing industry, want an end to trawling in the sea along with the removal of a token system to carry out commercial activities along the Pakistan-Iran border.
“The Prime Minister directed the Federal Ministers Asad Umar and Ms. Zubeida Jalal to visit Gwadar as soon as possible so that recommendations could be formulated for quick resolution of the problems of the people of Gwadar,” said an official statement issued after the federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The prolonged demonstration in Pakistan’s port city located in the province of Balochistan has also been reported by the international media. However, the demonstration not only continued in the port city but also intensified, as the female residents of Gwadar poured into the streets to support the monthlong sit-in.
It is to be noted that tens of thousands of people, including women and children, marched on the main roads and streets of Gwadar on Friday in support of their movement launched for the rights of the people of Gwadar and they still sit-in on roads in severe cold.

Their demands included the removal of additional check-posts at Pushkan, Sarbandan and Gwadar City, the complete removal of fishing trawlers and the opening of the Pak-Iran border.

Fawad Choudhary

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that Asad Umar and Zubaida Jalal Khan will visit Gwadar to hold talks with protesters on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The issue of Gwadar protest also came into discussion during the cabinet meeting. On the directives of the Prime Minister, the two ministers will visit Gwadar and will address the grievances of the people of the coastal city,” Fawad said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad after the cabinet meeting.

He said that PM Khan had already taken notice of the matter and the demands of protesters were being considered with seriousness.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Fawad Choudhary addressing a press conference on Gwadar and other issues in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Prime Minister on Sunday took notice of the “very legitimate demands” of Gwadar’s fishermen, saying strong action will be taken against illegal trawling in the area.

“I have taken notice of the very legitimate demands of the hardworking fishermen of Gwadar. Will be taking strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers,” the premier tweeted.

The fishermen in Gwadar have been protesting against the devastating impact of illegal fishing by trawlers along the coast on the livelihoods of local fishermen.

The protesters, led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, Balochistan gen­­eral secretary of Ja­­m­a­at-i-Islami, have vowed to continue their campaign till the achievement of their demands.

“One of their demands is the availability of clean drinkable water. The federal government has approved multi-billion rupees projects for the provision of drinkable water in Gwadar. We are spending more on water projects in Gwadar than we did in Islamabad,” Fawad said, adding that out of Rs700 billion approved for southern Balochistan, a whopping Rs560 billion will be provided by the federal government.

“If the issues of Balochistan are not being resolved even after injecting so much money, then there is a need of a reassessment to identify the bottlenecks in the implementation of the projects,” Fawad said.

Massive rally for demands acceptance

Thousands of people marched on the main streets of the port city of Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan on Friday in support of the “Gwadar ko haq do” movement, launched 26 days ago. BBC has released a video which is available here to watch.

GWADAR: Participants of a protest rally can be seen at Marine Drive in Gwadar, Pakistan,
on Friday (December 10).

The participants, which included women and children, took out a procession carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands, Dawn newspaper reported. The protestors also chanted slogans against the government.

Among other things, thousands of residents continue to demand access to clean drinking water and an end to the “trawler mafia”.

Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, Balochistan general secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), said the protest was actually a referendum against the provincial and federal governments and the people would continue their struggle till the achievement of their rights.

This photo shows Fatima Raza, a young demonstrator, who joined the protest rally in Gwadar, Pakistan, on Friday (December 10). (Photo courtesy Arab News)

“It is the movement of the deprived and oppressed people of Balochistan comprising fishermen, poor labourers and students, which will continue till all their demands are accepted and implemented,” the JI leader declared.

This comes a day after the arrest of senior Pakistani politician and Baloch Muttahida Mahaz (BMM) president Yousuf Masti Khan in Gwadar. Yousuf Khan was arrested on Thursday on the charge of making a “provocative and anti-state” speech at a protest sit-in staged by the people of Gwadar, Dawn reported.

The arrest came amid ongoing protests by the residents of Gwadar for rights that have been going on for over 20 days. Pakistani authorities have issued orders to send thousands of police officers from various other districts for maintenance of law and order and on anti-riot duties.

GWADAR: A female protestor wears a head band carrying an inscription, “Right or Martyrdom,” during a rally in Gwadar, Pakistan, on Friday (December 10). (ANI photo)

The participants of the procession started their march from Seratun-Nabi Chowk, carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands. They were chanting slogans against the provincial government.

Speaking to the participants, Maulana Hidayat said police and other law-enforcement agen­cies blocked the Coas­tal Highway at Uthal, stopping buses, coaches and other vehicles carrying people to travel towards Gwadar as thousands of people from Karachi and other areas of Sindh wanted to join the sit-in in Gwadar.

Maulana Hidayat said that today’s participation of hundreds of thousands of people in the procession and the sit-in was actually a referendum against the provincial and federal governments and the people would continue their struggle and protest till the achievement of their rights which had been denied to them for a long time.

“It is the movement of the deprived and oppressed people of Balochistan comprising fishermen, poor labourers and students, which will continue till all their demands are accepted and implemented,” the JI leader declared.