Tense calm prevails in Gwadar after five days of protests

Published December 31, 2022
IN this officially released photo, few vehicles are seen moving on an otherwise deserted road in Gwadar on Friday.
IN this officially released photo, few vehicles are seen moving on an otherwise deserted road in Gwadar on Friday.

GWADAR / QUETTA: Some semblance of normalcy returned to Gwadar after five days of unrelenting protests and a shutter-down strike, as shops and business centres started opening on Friday and tra­ffic was restored betw­een the port city and Karachi as well as other areas.

Though bazaars remai­n­­ed open in different areas of Gwadar town, the situat­i­­on was still tense and peo­ple preferred to stay at home.

The Gwadar deputy commissioner said in statement that life in the port city and other areas of the district was returning to normal, with the cooperation of the people and joint efforts of the government and security forces, who had taken steps to resolve the issue.

The commissioner’s office said shops and trading and commercial centres were re-opening and business activities are being restored in the port city, adding that the government was taking steps to protect the life and propriety of the people.

The statement claimed that the people of Gwadar have rejected the anti-development stance of the elements who wanted to sabotage the government’s efforts for the development of Gwadar.

JI holds rally over arrests, use of force

Sources said no sit-in or protest was reported in Gwadar and other areas, including two coastal towns of Pansi and Ormara, as the Balochistan government had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the district for one month, banning all kinds of processions, protest rallies, sit-ins and gathering of more than five persons.

They said police arrested a local journalist working for a Karachi-based Urdu newspaper, Haji Obaid­ul­lah, along with his three sons, for filing reports on the Gwadar situation. However, on the protest and interference by other journalists, they were released after detention for some time.

There were reports about the arrest of Maulana Hidayat­­ur Rehman, the chief of Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) who was leading the protests, but of­­ficials denied such reports.

The protesters were demanding basic rights like water, electricity and jobs.

Internet and other communication services could not be restored in Gwadar despite the passage of five days.

JI rallies

Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami took out a rally in Quetta in protest against the arrests, police baton charge and use of tear gas against the workers and supporters of Haq Do Tehreek in Gwadar.

The protesters gathered at Meezan Chowk after Friday prayers and marched on different roads. They carried placards inscribed with slogans against the government and Gwadar administration.

The provincial leaders of the party strongly criticised the government and demanded the release of all arrested protesters.

The JI also took out protest rallies in Khuzdar and Dera Murad Jamali.

Abdul Wahid Shahwani from Khuzdar and Ali Jan Mangi from Dera Murad Jamali also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2022

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