Pakistan has now started erecting a wall of barbed fencing around Gwadar city, which will seal off the heart of Gwadar city, leaving only one entry point and one exit point for the city’s residents. This has started after China pressurized Pakistan because it was worried about the safety of their men as well as the machines stationed at the port. The Gwadar port, located on the coast of Arabian Sea in the Balochistan province, is being used by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and will be developed as a military base in the coming years.
A huge number of men from the People’s Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps have already been deployed at the port. The fencing, which will be completed within a month, is being done from a fund of Pakistani Rs 1,475.9 million, which has been allotted by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for “Gwadar Safe City Project Phase-I”.
The entire area from Coastal Highway to Zero Point Gwadar is to be closed off with fencing. The fencing starts from Pishukan village, passes the Balochistan Broadway Road, and Gwadar Airport, which surrounds all the villages that lie in between. These barbed fences that are approximately 10 feet high, will cover an area of around 30 sq km, and will have almost 600 surveillance cameras at suitable distances to ensure that anyone coming near the fence or trying to enter the city, apart from those authorized entry, is spotted and taken down.
Pakistan came under pressure from China to increase safety measures around the city following the May 2019 Pearl Continental hotel attack, which sits on the “Koh e Batil” hill overlooking the Gwadar port. China doubted Pakistan’s ability to protect the Chinese from the Baloch freedom fighters, who, despite numbering in thousands and armed with mostly rudimentary weapons, have been able to target CPEC projects.
Naseem Baloch, Organiser of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) Diaspora Committee, said, “The life of an ordinary Baloch is very hard in the region. There are police check posts every 200 metres where the locals are humiliated and assaulted for no reason. When the fencing comes up, it will become very difficult for the Baloch to step out or get into Gwadar.”