GWADAR: A large number of women along with their children took to the streets of the port city on Monday in solidarity with the movement launched for the rights of the people of Gwadar and other areas of Makran.
The demonstrators, including female students, political workers and working women who reached Gwadar city from Turbat, Ormara, Jewani, Pasni and other areas of Gwadar district, started their rally from Al-Johar Public School and after marching on various roads and streets reached Marine Drive.
They kept chanting slogans against the provincial government and in support of their demands, with most of them carrying placards and banners inscribed with “Gwadar ko haq do” (Give rights to Gwadar).
Secretary General of Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI) Balochistan chapter Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch, who has been leading the sit-in in Gwadar for the last two weeks, welcomed the women activists and stressed that such a big rally of women was proof that every person was now willing to join the movement for their rights.
“The people of Gwadar have been deceived in the name of CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] and Gwadar port while they have not benefited from it,” he said.
He lamented that fishermen had been deprived of earning their livelihood, a ban was imposed on border trade and people were not getting health, education, water supply and other basic amenities.
Maulana Baloch asserted that drug mafia was running drugs and liquor business with the connivance of the local administration due to which the youth were becoming drug addicts and the provincial government was doing nothing to abolish liquor shops and act against the drugs business.
He said that although the government had issued a notification in this regard, its powerful institutions refused to accept the orders.
He regretted that the protesters had been termed “Indian agents” just because they are fighting for their rights. “We are agents of our people and not the agents of an enemy country,” he said, adding that instead of punishing an Indian agent who was arrested from Balochistan, the government was making legislation for his release.
The people, including women and children, would not step back from their demands, and the protesters would start blocking the coastal highway and other roads in the coming days, Maulana Baloch declared.
“If CPEC and Gwadar port are not for the prosperity of the local people, then they do not need to be here,” he added. He appreciated the protest by transport companies supplying construction material to the Chinese companies and said that it was a slap on the face of those who were talking about the development of Gwadar.
Leaders of JI’s women wing in Gwadar, including Fatima Sumera Siddique, Zoya Baloch, Nafisa Rasheed and Zeenat Allah Bakhsh, also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021