Members of the Haq Do movement and the local public have been protesting in front of the Gwadar port for the past three days. The protest has caused serious difficulties in the various development projects that are underway at the port. Pakistani security forces reportedly tried to disperse the protest and when the protestors refused to budge, they were beaten up.
Locals in Gwadar have staged a protest in front of the Gwadar port for the past three days, demanding reforms the government had promised but did not deliver. The protest has disrupted the ongoing development projects inside the port and caused troubles for the administration.
The Pakistani security forces reportedly tried to violently disperse the protests on Saturday, screaming imprecations on their way. Haq Do movement leader Maulana Hidayat Ur Rehman was informed and he immediately reached the protest site, joined by scores of civilians.
With Rehman’s arrival, the security forces reportedly softened their tone and simply asked the protest leaders to end the protest, but they refused to budge. The protest leaders told the security forces that they will not allow some “foreigners” to use abusive language against our women.
The protestors said that we are not making new demands – we are only asking the government to fulfil the promises it made. A journalist from Gwadar told The Balochistan Post that the protest has become a thorn in the government’s flesh. The construction projects have been suspended indefinitely and the district administration is puzzled about how to handle the protests. He said that if the protest continues for a longer time, the government might resort to violence to end the protest.
The Haq Do movement organized a massive protest in Gwadar in November 2021, asking for social reforms. Tens of thousands of individuals participated in the protest that lasted for over a month. After a series of unfruitful negotiations, the government finally struck a bargain with the protestors. The Haq Do movement leaders presented 19 demands to the government which included a ban on illegal trawling in the Arabian Sea, resumption of the border trade with Iran, elimination of unnecessary checkpoints and withdrawal of security forces stationed at them, safe release of Baloch missing persons and the devolution of the border security from the Frontier Corps to the local administration.
The government fulfilled some of the demands immediately, like closing wine shops in Gwadar. But in other matters, the government is stalling. The government has made some outlandish claims but none of them holds water. The government says that it has controlled illegal trawling in the Arabian Sea and even claimed to arrest illegal trawlers. But the local fishermen in Gwadar and other coastal areas of the Makran division claim otherwise – they say that the government is unwilling to crack down on illegal trawling because some elements in the government have a high stake in the practice.