The Balochistan government issued a notification banning rallies, demonstrations and sit-in protests throughout Balochistan. The new ordinance was formulated, proposed and passed in the assembly in a matter of days – it was promptly implemented throughout Balochistan.
According to the details, the provincial government passed the Criminal Law Balochistan Amendment Ordinance 2021, proscribing rallies and demonstrations throughout Balochistan. The government officials said that the new ordinance intends to deter any kind of gathering that can negatively impact the daily life and activities of the civilians, demonstrations being the primary one.
The ordinance said that demonstrations on streets, highways or any other busy public spaces are strictly prohibited. Anyone found trespassing the new law will be detained and prosecuted, possibly receiving a six month on one-year imprisonment and 10,000 Pakistani rupees in fine. The ordinance also made clear that the law enforcement agencies will not be obliged to present an arrest warrant for arresting the trespassers.
The National Party, a political party, condemned the new ordinance, saying that the “ignorant” and “selected” government of Balochistan has converted the governor’s house into a rubber stamp ordinance factory. The authorities are churning outlaws with no reasonable foundations, it said.
The National Party said that the protests in the University of Balochistan and Gwadar have perturbed and confused the authorities. The new ordinance is a desperate attempt by the government to silence the protestors.
The new ordinance comes weeks after prolonged protests in Quetta and Gwadar by student activists and the general public. In the University of Balochistan, Baloch students have been protesting for the past three weeks for the safe release of their missing fellow students Sohail Baloch and Faseeh Baloch, who was detained from the university hostels.
Following their enforced disappearance, Baloch students groups organized a protest in the university, asking the administration and the government authorities to ensure the safe release of the missing students. The students suspended their academic activities and closed the university in protest. The protest was halted for three days following negotiations between the varsity administration and the students, but the protest was reinitiated after the talks failed to produce any result.
Similarly, in Gwadar, thousands of civilians have gathered Gwadar for the past two weeks to protest for their basic fundamental rights. The protestors are asking for the removal of unnecessary security check posts, reopening the border crossing with Iran and fishing in the Arabian Sea.
The “Gwadar Ko Haq Do” movement has transformed into a popular social reform campaign with admirers and supporters in Makran and much of its environs. The All Parties Kech, an alliance of several political parties, announced its support of the Gwadar protest. In a media statement, the representatives of the alliance said that the demonstrators are rightfully asking for their fundamental rights. They said that the lack of seriousness from the government has aggravated the problems.
The All Parties Kech also condemned the new ordinance banning rallies and demonstrations in Balochistan.