Wine stores shut down in Balochistan's Gwadar district after talks with protesters

Published November 26, 2021
This file photo shows Gwadar city. — Photo courtesy: Wikimedia
This file photo shows Gwadar city. — Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

The Excise, Taxation and Anti-Narcotics Department on Friday ordered the closure of all wine stores in Balochistan's Gwadar district with immediate effect in view of the "law and order situation".

The notification was shared by provincial Minister for Planning and Development Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi on Twitter. He said that the decision was taken after negotiations with Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch, the secretary general of Jamaat-i-Islami’s Balochistan chapter, who is leading the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek.

On Thursday, leaders of the movement had agreed to postpone for three days their planned protest sit-in and blockade of the coastal highway and Eastbay expressway after talks with a team of provincial ministers.

Thousands of people from Gwadar, Turbat, Pishkan, Zamran, Buleda, Ormara and Pasni were taking part in the sit-in for over a week. Their demands included the removal of additional check-posts at Pushkan, Sarbandan and Gwadar City, the complete removal of fishing trawlers and the opening of the Pak-Iran border.

After the second round of talks with the government team, which was headed by Buledi, leaders of the movement had given three days' time for the acceptance of their demands.

Official sources said the provincial government had accepted four demands of the protesters and authorities concerned had issued an official notification in this regard. One of the key demands accepted by the provincial government was taking over powers of running the Pak-Iran border affairs from the Frontier Corps authorities and handing it over to the district administration.

The official notification issued by authorities concerned was handed over to leaders of the sit-in.

It was also decided that the Maritime Security Agency, the district administration and the fisheries department will conduct joint patrolling in Balochistan waters against illegal fishing of trawlers and drive foreign mafia trawlers out of waters of Gwadar district to protect the rights of Gwadar's fishermen and other areas of Balochistan.

Speaking to protesters on Thursday, Maulana Hidayatur Rehman had said that the government officials had handed over some documents about acceptance of some demands “but we have no trust in them and have given a three-day deadline for acceptance of all demands of the people of the movement staging the sit-in”.

According to documents available with Dawn.com, the provincial Home and Tribal Affairs Department has imposed a ban on illegal fishing/trawling within 12 nautical miles of the Gwadar sea area with immediate effect in public interest and directed authorities to take action against violators.

A separate notification stated that border management would be monitored by the district administration in close consultation with "line agencies".

The Gwadar deputy commissioner also nominated an official to facilitate locals in retrieving and releasing boats seized by the Pakistan Coast Guard.

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