5,500 more police being sent to Gwadar on anti-riot duty, protest enters day 18

Our Correspondent

Balochistan police have issued orders to send 5,500 police officers to Gwadar from various other districts for maintenance of law and order and on anti-riot duties amid a weeks-long protest, it emerged on Thursday.

According to a notification issued by Balochistan’s Central Police Office, the additional police force being sent comprises deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) and station house officers (SHOs) in addition to lower-cadre personnel.

The notification said Gwadar’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) would be the overall commander of the force while the most senior DSP would be the overall commander for the concerned district police.

The sub-divisional police officers would be in charge of their concerned sub-divisional force, whereas the SHOs would command their respective police station personnel.

“Except ASP (assistant superintendent of police)/DSP and SHOs, no one shall carry weapons.

Two gunmen with each ASP/DSP and each SHO shall accompany the police personnel and ensure their security and safety,” the notification said.

The development comes amid ongoing protests in Gwadar for the last 18 days by thousands of residents, who demand access to clean drinking water and an end to “trawler mafia”, among other things.

Protestors from Gwadar, Turbat, Pishkan, Zamran, Buleda, Ormara and Pasni are taking part in the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement) led by Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, a local leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). They have vowed to continue their protest till their demands are met.

The JI leader told media that protesters have blocked the Makran Coastal Highway from four different locations on Thursday, further extending the protest.

A shutter down strike was also observed in Gwadar today, with shops and markets closed across the city. Fishermen across the district also protested by not turning to the sea.

He added that on the call of trade unions, a shutter down strike is also being observed in Ormara and Pasni.

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