A large number of traders, shopkeepers and the general public gathered on the streets in Turbat, the central city of Kech, to protest against the closure of the Pak-Iranian border by the border authorities. They said that the border trade has become a lifeline for the people living near the border, and its closure will definitely plunge thousands of families into despair and destitution. They said that the border closure is our “economic murder” and demanded the authorities to resolve these issues.
According to the details, the Pakistani authorities have once again sealed the Pak-Iran border crossing, a major trade route for the locals who make out a living transporting goods between the two countries. The Pakistani authorities claim that the border was closed due to security issues, and will be reopened, but the traders are not satisfied. They say that the authorities are deliberately executing such tactics to put a halt to the border trade and plunge the thousands of Baloch families into destitution.
Traders, transporters, businessmen and the local social and political leaders staged a demonstration in Turbat against the closure of the Pak-Iranian border. Addressing the gathering, the protestors said that the border trade is a matter of life and death for us, and its closure is tantamount to our “economic murder.” They said that Kech is a border district – there are no factories here where the people could go to work and earn a living. The border trade is our only source of income, they said.
The protestors said that the authorities are implementing all sorts of tactics to put a halt to the border trade – they imposed the token system on us; then they brought in the E-Tag system and now they have closed the border altogether. They demanded that the border must be reopened so that the locals can carry out their trade without any hindrance. If the authorities don’t pay heed to our demands, we will continue the protests, they said.
The speakers said that the coastline and the borders belong to the people of Balochistan and they should be given the right to use these resources for the greater good of the community. There are numerous other border crossings that have been closed; these should be reopened so that more and more people can participate in the trade and earn a living for themselves.
They further said the locals in the border regions of Balochistan have relatives on the other side of the border in the Iran-controlled Sistan and Balochistan. The locals should be allowed to freely travel through the border into Iran in order to meet with their relatives and participate in their family occasions. Food commodities and other legal stuff should be allowed for transportation through the border, they demanded.
The speakers said that numerous check posts dot the route towards the border crossing. The security forces stationed on these posts harass the traders and transporters on their way to Iran. This inappropriate behaviour must be stopped, they demanded.