Friday, December 1, 2023

“Gwadar ko haq do” chants echo as Pak city protests against Chinese influence

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For more than 20 days, the people of Gwadar, including women and children have been raising slogans of “Gwadar ko haq do” and staging protests in the port city demanding their fundamental rights. Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, the provincial general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Balochistan, is leading the protest.

The demonstration began near Seratun-Nabi Chowk, with people holding placards and banners bearing messages in favour of their demands. According to the report, they were yelling anti-provincial slurs. Several rounds of discussions between the administration of Balochistan and the protestors have failed because the protesters have stated that they would not terminate their demonstration on the basis of mere verbal assurances.

Their requests include providing inhabitants with drinkable water, civic facilities, local employment possibilities, and the elimination of superfluous security checkpoints located around the city.

The protesters have also demanded an end to foreign trawlers illegally fishing in Gwadar’s waters, claiming that illegal fishing trawlers are destroying Baloch fisherfolk’s livelihood and the marine environment, as well as the lifting of trade restrictions with Iran, which is a major source of income for the locals.

In the matter, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced via a tweet on Sunday that the government will take firm action against unlawful trawler fishing off the coast of Gwadar. The prime minister stated in a tweet that he had taken notice of the legitimate requests of Gwadar’s industrious fishermen, who are a key component of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). According to him, he would also meet with Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo about the Balochistan fishing community’s concerns.

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