Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took notice of the "very legitimate demands" of the "fishermen of Gwadar" as the protest of the locals in the port city for their basic rights entered its 28th day.
The protest, which began roughly a month ago, saw tens of thousands of people, including women and children as well as fishermen, march on the main roads and streets of Gwadar on Friday in support of their movement. Their demands range from the presence of large fishing trawlers encroaching on their livelihood to lack of health facilities and drinking water.
Led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, Balochistan general secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami, the protesters have vowed to continue their protest till the achievement of their rights.
The prime minister tweeted today that he had taken notice of the "legitimate demands of hardworking fishermen of Gwadar", adding that the authorities would take "strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers".
He said that he would also speak to the provincial chief executive on the matter.
Rehman, who is leading the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement), had told Dawn.com the protest would continue until the acceptance of two major demands — action against "trawler mafia" and resolution of issues on Iran border — from the overall 19 demands.
Meanwhile, on Dec 6, Balochistan's director general of public relations released a list, available with Dawn.com, that showed progress made so far on the protestor's demands.
The demands and progress made, according to the authorities, are as follows:
- End to illegal trawlers: Office of director general of Fisheries moved to Gwadar and patrolling increased to check on illegal trawlers
- Freedom for fishermen to go to sea: Elimination of special token system to go to sea. Fishermen are now allowed to go without any permission
- Elimination of unnecessary checkposts on major roads: All unnecessary checkposts removed
- Closure of wine shops in Gwadar All wine shops closed on government instructions
- Elimination of interference in cross-border trade with Iran: End to all kinds of interference and establishment of trade markets at border
- Establishment of a university in Gwadar: Appointment of a vice chancellor for Gwadar University, classes to start soon
- Appointments on empty seats of education department's non-teaching staff: Selection process for appointment completed, officials sent for appointment
- Curtailing the sale of fake medicines: Inspection of Gwadar's medical stores completed
- Waivers and subsidies on utility bills: Policy on issue to be clarified soon, chief minister has written a letter to Quetta Electric Supply Company
- Release of seized cars and boats by coastguard: Legal team formed on the issue
- Provision of clean drinking water: Supply of water initiated, water project to be completed soon
- Priority to locals on jobs for development projects: Special desk formed on the issue in district commissioner's office
- Implementation on agreement with Dar Bela affectees: Compensation paid to affectees, separate area being selected for land compensation
- Compensation paid to Expressway affectees: Compensation paid to affectees, special measures being taken for remaining people
- Removal of cases on protest leaders and names from Fourth Schedule: Matter sent to the provincial cabinet
- Damages for losses due to storms and illegal trawlers: Survey completed of fishermen's losses, matter of compensation sent to Provincial Disaster Management Authority and orders issued for immediate compensation
- Removal of DG GDA, DC Gwadar AC Pasni: Officials changed and replaced with capable individuals
- Implementation of quota for disabled people: Orders issued for strict implementation of quota
- Open Kulki point for transportation of oil and essentials: Kantani point completely opened for transport and distribution of oil and essentials
16 out of 19 demands have been met, claims CM's adviser
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Ziaullah Lagau told a press conference today that the protesters had a list of 19 demands, 16 of which had been accepted by the government.
With regards to one of the remaining complaints about illegal fishing by trawlers in the port city, the adviser said Maulana Rehman had recently admitted during a meeting that illegal fishing by trawlers had declined but at the same time, he feared a surge in the activity if protesters ended their demonstration.
"To which, I responded that I am not responsible for it," Lagau said.
He highlighted that another demand pertained to boats and vehicles that had been confiscated by the authorities under the Customs Act. "I conveyed to them we cannot do anything about it as this was out of our domain," the adviser said.
Pointing out the third remaining demand regarding the handing over of border management from the FC to the civil administration, the CM's aide said authorities were working on it.