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Another naval base in Balochistan?

February 23, 2010


CURRENTLY there are seven mega-military garrisons, 52 paramilitary cantonments and four naval bases, including the Jinnah naval base in Ormara. Also there are missile-testing ranges and two nuclear development and testing sites in the province of Balochistan.

Militarisation of Balochistan is unabated. The federal government has been using regular troops and paramilitary forces for the “strengthening of the federation”. The region has been highly militarised, as military establishment is diverting social and economic capital on more and more military and navel development.

The most disturbing news about the construction of another navel base in Balochistan will have grave impact on the environment and politics of Balochistan. The new navel base under construction in the area is known as Kalmat; Khor Kalmat is a lagoon.

The Government of Pakistan has decided to build a naval base in one of the historical regions of Gwadar known as 'Kalmat Chundi Hore'. It has been decided to include 30,000 acres of the region in the map of the naval base.

A large number of residents of the region will have to shift to other locations because of the government's decision. It is also feared that thousands of fishermen will lose their jobs as their fishing areas will be occupied by the Pakistan Navy. The historical region of Gwadar and Pasni (Kalmat Chundi Hore) is not only a place for catching high-quality prawns and different kinds of fish but is also a breeding ground for many marine species, including prawns.

Every year millions of rupees worth of prawns and fish are exported from Kalmat Chundi Hore to Karachi and the international market.

Sources said that if the government of Pakistan decides to go ahead with their plan to build the naval base, it will cause thousands of fishermen to lose their jobs.

The residents of the area have appealed to the president and prime minister of Pakistan and the governor and chief minister of Balochistan to cancel their plan of building the Naval Base in Kalmat Chundi Hore in order to save thousands of Baloch fishermen from losing their jobs.

They have also demanded international environment campaigners to put a stop to this damaging plan.

The people of Balochistan badly need schools, colleges, universities, professional and technical-training institutions and better social and economic facilities; not navel bases and garrisons.