QUETTA: Balochistan remai­ned cut off from the rest of the country on Monday due to a wheel-jam strike observed across the province on the call of opposition Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) against the worsening law and order situation in the Wadh area of Khuzdar district. 

The situation in Wadh has been tense for the last one week because of the presence of a large number of armed men there. 

Hundreds of BNP-M workers and leaders, including members of the provincial and national assembles gathered at various points of different towns and cities and blocked highways.

In Quetta, the party workers, led by their leaders Mir Naseer Ahmed Shahwani, Mir Akhtar Hussain Langove and Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, blocked the Quetta-Karachi and Quetta-Taftan highways.

Barricades and boulders were put on the highway near Luck Pass, closing the road for all kinds of vehicles. No passenger coach could leave for its destination till the end of the strike.

Passengers travelling in buses and other private vehicles faced difficulties at various points, especially women and children who suffered a lot due to the hot temperature and lack of drinking water and food.

The Quetta-Karachi highway was blocked by BNP-M leaders and workers in Khuzdar, Mastung, Kalat, Surab, Lasbela and Hub areas.

The wheel-jam strike was also observed in Chagai, Noshki, Barkhan, Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Dera Murad Jamali, Dera Allahyar, Bolan, Sibi, Loralai and other towns and cities of Balochistan.

The coastal highway linking Gwadar with Karachi and other areas also remained blocked at different points. Turbat-Panjgur and Dera Murad Jamali-Sukkur highways also remained closed for several hours during the strike. 

However, in Khuzdar, Assi­s­tant Commissioner Ali Durrani and other officials held negotiations with the local leaders of BNP-M and assured them that steps would be taken to resolve the issue of lawlessness in Wadh.

The party leaders, after an agreement, opened the Quetta-Karachi highway at Khuzdar, Wadh, Uthal and Hub in view of the difficulties being faced by the passengers before the end of strike time.

“We have called off our successful wheel-jam strike before the time in view of the sufferings of the people, including women and children travelling for different areas of Balochistan,” a senior BNP-M leader said, adding the people of Balochistan have given full response to the wheel-jam strike across the province. 

The BNP-M Secretary General Waja Jahanzeb Baloch announced that a shutter-down strike would be observed throughout the province on July 8. 

The Balochistan government deployed a heavy contingent of law enforcement personnel during the strike to meet any untoward incident. However, no such incident was reported from any area of the province.

Abdul Wahid Shawani in Khuzdar, Ali Jan Mangi in Nasirabad and Behram Baloch in Gwadar also contributed to this report.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2023

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