Pakistan: Protestors threaten to close Gwadar port from July 21


GWADAR: Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch, who led the Gwadar rights movement, has threatened to close the Gwadar port from July 21 if the demands agreed by the provincial government are not fulfilled, the Dawn reported.

This comes after tens of thousands of protesters blocked the expressway leading to the Gwadar port which remains a crucial part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as the government is not fulfilling its promises made in the agreement signed in April this year for ending a month-long sit-in in the port city.

It is pertinent to mention that protests started on October 27.

The movement’s demands include stopping illegal fishing by trawlers in Balochistan’s maritime boundaries, recovery of missing persons, maximum concessions in border trade with Iran, end to narcotics and other Gwadar-related issues, The Dawn reported.

These protestors included men, women, children, and local fishermen. The locals organized a sit-in and chanted slogans against the current central and provincial governments. This protest on the Gwadar expressway was led by Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek’s leader Maulana Hidayatur Rehman.

Maulana Rehman and other speakers strongly condemned the federal and provincial governments for not implementing the agreement reached with the movement leaders last year. “The struggle of Haq Do movement will continue until the problems are solved,” Maulana Rehman said on Twitter.

“Today, once again the people of Gwadar have given a clear message to the ruling classes. If attention is not given, the public will have no choice but to close the port.”

Gwadar port has long been portrayed as the jewel in the CPEC crown, but in the process the city has become the very embodiment of a security state.

The authorities’ priorities are geared towards securing the port and its ancillary interests; the welfare of those for whom the area is home counts for little.

Far from the port being a harbinger of an economic boom, the opposite has happened. Existing privations have deepened; people’s mobility is restricted by security forces and there is unwarranted questioning of their activities.

Many say they are made to feel like strangers in their own land, according to Dawn.

Statements were also given by several spokespersons criticizing the governments for failing to meet the agreement that the leaders and the government had reached last year during similar protests. Previously, Rehman also tweeted that they will continue their protests until their demands are not met. And if deserved attention and action upon their demands are not taken then they will have no choice but to close the port, according to The Dawn.

Rehman said that the chief minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo had visited the Gwadar port and promised to remove the trawler mafia, open the crossing points, stop the drug trafficking, trace the missing persons and remove security forces. Although the continuation of these protests suggests that nothing that was promised was finally delivered. Previously, in July 2022, Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, the chief of the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) in a video message urged China to stop CPEC projects in Balochistan as it has forcibly displaced lakhs of indigenous people and destroyed their property.__Courtesy