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QUETTA: The government has been asked to protect the centuries-old livelihood of the fishermen community of Gwadar by adopting an alternative plan which could give them access up to the sea.

Member National Assembly and former speaker of Balochistan Assembly Muhammad Aslam Bhootani expressed these views while talking to journalists on Thursday.

“Being a representative of Gwadar and Lasbela, it is my responsibility to take up the issue at concerned forums, including the National Assembly,” he said. Rebuffing the notion that people were against development, Mr Bhootani said they were rather keen for the protection of their rights and livelihood.

He suggested a change in the design of Eastern Bay Expressway in a way which may provide easy access to fishermen to continue their employment up to the sea.

He said immediate steps were needed for removing apprehensions of fishermen regarding their livelihood as any delay could affect the economy of Gwadar.

He said he had taken up the issue with authorities concerned and appraised them about reservations and apprehensions of the people of Gwadar in this connection. He expressed the hope the federal government will soon take steps in this regard.

Regarding water issue, he said, it was another crisis for which the government was taking steps to maintain smooth supply of drinking water to the residents of the district.

He promised to protect political and economic rights of the people by taking all possible measures.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018