GWADAR: The participants of the Gwadar Ko Haq Do movement, whose sit-in entered the 18th day, blocked Makran Coastal Highway on Thursday, cutting Gwadar’s link with Karachi and other areas of the country.

On the other hand, Balochistan police authorities have issued orders to send 5,500 policemen to Gwadar from other districts for maintenance of law and order and on anti-riot duties, reports Dawn.com.

Jamaat-i-Islami leader Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman Baloch, who is leading the protest, announced that the protesters had postponed the plan to stage a sit-in at Eastbay Expressway as negotiation with a government team, headed by Minister for Planning and Development Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, continued and the government was taking steps for accepting their demands.

The business community observed shutter down strike in the port city in support of the movement launched for achievement of the rights of people of Gwadar district. All shops, business centres, markets and business establishments remained closed throughout the day and there was thin vehicular traffic on the roads as people preferred to keep their vehicles off the road. Private banks remained closed through the day.

5,500 cops being deployed on anti-riot duty

The protesters put barricades, big boulders and hurdles on the Coastal Highway to block the road from Ormara to Gwadar, suspending all kind of vehicular traffic on the highway. The protesters also closed Pasni Zero Point and Sarbandan cross by staging sit-ins, due to which Gwadar was cut off from Lasbela district and other areas.

Maulana Rehman visited various places where the people were staging sit-ins. He said that by blocking Coastal Highway at various places, the enthusiastic people of Gwadar and Lasbela districts had proved that they were fed up with the oppressive system and wanted to be free to go to sea and their lands and do business at the Pakistan-Iran border freely.

“People have been staging sit-ins for the last 18 days, but the government has not accepted our demands,” he said, adding that the demands were legitimate and they were nor very big demands, which the government could not accept.

He said that the sea was a source of livelihood given to the locals by God and for hundreds of years their forefathers had been fishing in the sea to feed their children, but now access to it was restricted.

“The people have become fed up with a large number of unnecessary security check-posts due to humiliation they faced during checking. They want removal of unnecessary check-posts.”

He said that protest and struggle were constitutional rights of the people and they were not afraid of policemen coming to Gwadar from different areas of Balochistan. “We will not give up the struggle for rights.”

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2021

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