Month long protest in
Gwadar ends after meeting
all demands by govt

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GWADAR: The protesting fishermen in Gwadar on Thursday called off their month-long sit-in after successful talks with the government. Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, who was leading the protest, announced to end sit-in after an agreement was signed with the provincial government.

The agreement was signed by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudus Bizenjo and Provincial General Secretary Jamaat Islami (JI), Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman.

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

Meanwhile, Maulana Hidayatur Rehmans name, previously added to the Fourth Schedule, was removed from the list. The development comes after federal ministers and Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo had arrived at the protest venue to hold negotiations.

Multiple rounds of talks were held after which an agreement was reached between Rehman and the chief minister.

Gwadar is in Pakistan’s impoverished southwestern province of Balochistan, a sparsely populated, mountainous, desert region bordering Afghanistan and Iran. China has been involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.

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

Protests against illegal trawling, a growing drugs trade and the lack of basic facilities like health and education erupted in mid-November and have gone on since under the banner of “Give Gwadar its Rights.” The movement gained momentum in the last week of November after thousands of women and children joined the protest.
“Talks between the Government negotiation team headed by CM Mir Abdul Qudus Bizenjo and Maulana Hidayat Ur Rehman [the protest leader] have been finalized and the government has accepted all demands,” Zahoor Buledi, a provincial minister who is leading talks from the government side, told Arab News.
“CM Balochistan accompanied by federal ministers will visit the protest camp at 5pm today to announce the decisions in public.”
He added: “We are much hopeful that Maulana will call off the protest after meeting with the CM today.”

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)

Rehman, who is the head of the Jamaat-i-Islami party in the port city, told Arab News the government had accepted all demands but the decision to call off demonstrations was not yet final.
“We are waiting for the chief minister and federal ministers who are scheduled to come to us today,” he said. “We will announce future plans after meeting them.”
Gwadar’s residents have long complained that Chinese presence and investment in the area has done little to improve their lives, particularly with regards to water scarcity and jobs. They say the Chinese project has robbed them of their primary source of livelihood, fishing, as giant fishing trawlers have come in through the Arabian Sea, resulting in the closure of a majority of fish processing factories.
China has said it is willing to work with the Pakistan government to ensure the benefits of CPEC projects trickle down to locals.