Protests Erupt In Gwadar Over Anti-Encroachment Drive

Gwadar Protests Erupt Following Abrupt Demolitions, Residents Demand Justice and Compensation

Protests Erupt In Gwadar Over Anti-Encroachment Drive

Chaos gripped parts of Gwadar early on Tuesday morning as the district administration launched an anti-encroachment drive, tearing down shop fronts and houses which violated approved plans. It was met with fierce resistance from residents and owners.

The district administration of Gwadar on Tuesday brought in heavy machinery to demolish what they claimed were illegal encroachments along Airport Road. The operation targeted illegal structures from Shohda-e-Jiwani Chowk to Mulla Fazul Chowk. 

It left several shop owners and residents in a state of shock, leading to widespread protests and chants against the district administration and the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).

Haji Mola Baksh, whose shop was partially damaged by the operation, expressed frustration. He said that despite assurances of negotiations within ten days by the authorities, they had launched the operation on Tuesday without warning. 

"We expected discussions, but they started the operation abruptly, leaving us no time to react," he complained.

Murad Salik, an enraged resident, stated, "It seems like the GDA plans to develop the city on our graves. We will not allow our homes and businesses to be destroyed without fair compensation."

The demolitions triggered loud protests. 
Mulla Baqi Baloch, another affected shop owner, likened the situation to a war zone as he expressed anguish over destroying their source of livelihood.

In response to the escalating unrest, Syed Muhammad, the Chief Engineer at GDA, clarified that the operation was essential for the city's overall development.

He emphasised the need to widen and expand the Airport Road to alleviate growing traffic issues in the city. Illegal encroachment, he said, hamper the flow of traffic. 

"We understand the concerns of the affected individuals. Extending the Airport Road is vital for public facilitation and resolving traffic congestion," stated Syed Muhammad. "We are committed to a fair resolution and ensure compensation for affected owners."

Meanwhile, those affected have demanded compensation for their lands, houses, and shops to allow the widening of the road based on market value and suitable locations if they have to be relocated.

The situation in the city remains tense, with protesters calling for a complete shutdown until their demands for justice and fair compensation are met.

The author hails from Gwadar, Balochistan, and is a student of journalism.