Gwadar residents’ protest enters day 17

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Thousands of people, including women and children, continued protesting in Gwadar for the 17th day on Wednesday, demanding among other things, access to clean drinking water and an end to “trawler mafia”.

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. They have vowed to continue their protest till their demands are met.

Balochistan Minister for Planning and Development Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi said the provincial government had started working on the demands as soon as the protest was announced by Rehman. He said he had held three rounds of talks with the protest leader and termed the demands “legitimate and pro-public”.

The Balochistan government, as soon as it was formed, tried to end deficiencies in service delivery, he added.

Regarding the demand to put an end to illegal fishing/trawler mafia, Buledi said eight trawlers had been seized so far and asked Rehman to send a representative if he did not have trust in the government.

The Balochistan government would also discuss the trawler issue with the Sindh government, he shared. He said that wine stores had been shut in the district in line with the demand of the protesters.

The minister claimed Rehman had acknowledged that there was an improvement in the situation regarding security check-posts. “The government is serious about the Maulana’s demands. When the negotiations with the administration failed, ministers, including me, went to Gwadar.”

The team asked Rehman not to close the door on talks, he further said, asking the protest leader to give the government some time as some of the demands required legislation. “We told the Maulana that our purposes are the same — to serve the people.”

Meanwhile, Gawadar Deputy Commissioner retired captain Ahmed Jameel Baloch visited the protest site after assuming charge of his office and spoke with Rehman.

Baloch vowed to work for the betterment of the district and ensure that no citizen faced any problems due to district administration.

“The DC office is open to all citizens and everyone will be heard. We will make full efforts to solve the problems in Gwadar,” he emphasised.

For his part, Maulana Rehman said he hoped that a common citizen would be heard by the DC Office the same way as an MPA.

“When the DC Office transforms into a pro-public office, the people’s problems will be solved. We will have to give people more importance than buildings,” he added.

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