QUETTA: National highways passing through many cities and towns of Balochistan, including Quetta, Chagai, Washuk, Kharan and Nushki, were blocked on Thursday by supporters of opposition parties in protest against what they called the government’s act of ignoring their proposed development projects in the provincial budget scheduled to be presented on Friday (today).
Leaders of the opposition parties in the provincial assembly announced that they would also siege the assembly building on Friday and would not allow any MPA to enter the building and present the budget for 2021-22 if their proposed development projects were not included in the provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP).
The opposition leaders continued their sit-in outside the Balochistan Assembly for the last three days. “Our sit-in is round the clock,” Advocate Malik Sikander said. Mr Sikander was leading the protest against the government for not giving importance to the opposition’s development schemes in the upcoming budget.
Meanwhile, Maulana Abdul Wasey, provincial emir of the JUI-F and member of the National Assembly, while speaking at a press conference in the protest camp of the opposition parties asked the opposition parties’ supporters, members of civil society, traders and other people to gather outside of Balochistan Assembly on Friday to block entry of ministers and government MPAs in its building.
Political workers, traders urged to stop entry of MPAs into assembly
He said, “We will not allow the government to present the budget which is prepared without consultation of the main opposition parties,” adding that their proposed development schemes were ignored in the coming ADP.
Maulana Wasey asked the coalition government to postpone budget for at least five days to make it a consensus budget.
Malik Naseer Shahwani, Prince Musa Jan, Nasarullah Zerey, Haji Nawaz Kakar, Mir Zabid Reki, Syed Azizullah Agha, Akbar Mengal, Akhtar Hussain Langove, Nawaz Baloch and other leaders were also present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, workers of opposition parties, including Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) on the call of their parties blocked Quetta-Karachi national highway at industrial town Hub, Khuzdar, Kalat and Mastung and other highways at Pishin, Qila Abdullah, Loralai, Zhob, Nushki, Sibi, Dera Murad Jamali and Dera Allah Yar.
The Quetta-Taftan highway, Coastal Highway, Gwadar-Turbat-Panjgur, Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan, Loralai-Dera Ghazi Khan and other highways also remained closed for several hours causing suspension of traffic.
All kinds of traffic, including passenger coaches, trucks carrying Afghan transit goods and Nato supplies remained suspended for at least seven hours. Hundreds of trucks, coaches, buses and other vehicles were stranded at various entry and exit points of Balochistan causing great difficulties to the people, including women, children and aged people traveling in coaches in very hot weather.
Heavy contingents of security forces were deployed at various places on the highways by the administration of different districts to avert any untoward situation.
Traffic was suspended on RCD Highway in Dalbandin, main highway in Basima, Quetta-Taftan highway in Nushki and Quetta-Kharan highway in Kharan by the protesters who also staged sit-ins on these highways.
The protesters chanted slogans against the provincial government and alleged that non-elected politicians were being granted funds and the member of provincial assemblies from the opposition were being ignored just because they did not belong to the ruling party. They demanded equal funds for all districts of Balochistan.
Ali Raza Rind in Chagai also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2021