The fishermen of Gwadar have been protesting for last two months. They demand stoppage of fish trawling in the sea, which has destroyed the natural habitats and has risked extinction of marine life. The practice has also resulted in the economic collapse for local fishermen communities.
Last year during the same months, the fishermen of Gwadar had staged a sit-in for more than a month. The sit-in encouraged several protests across Balochistan against the illegal trawling. Such protests were mainly led by the Secretary General of Jumait-e-Islami Balochistan, Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman and social activist Hussain Wadhela who were active under the platform of Haq Do Balochistan.
After mounting public pressure, the Chief Minister of Balochistan carried out dialogues with the protesters and announced actions and legislations through the Balochistan legislative assembly against the trawler mafia. After this, the practice of trawling slowed down for sometime but it appears the mafia is stronger than the Chief Minister as it has continued its activities again. The trawling mafia are now openly carrying out their illegal acts, and the Balochistan government and fisheries department have failed to stop them.
Fishermen activist Khuda Dad Wajoo says their campaign against the trawler mafia has continued for decades, but the persistent illegal practice has already resulted in extinction of several marine species in the region. On surface, both the government and opposition leaders of Balochistan’s legislature appear to raise voice against this mafia, but they fail to carry out any practical actions.
The fishermen community of Gwadar have faced such issues for decades, and the new Gwadar port has only exacerbated the situation. If the issues of fishermen are not resolved then it will result in harsher protests, which can attract more people towards the politics of independence.