Gwadar Protests Continue Despite Arrests

Gwadar Protests Continue Despite Arrests
The Balochistan government struck an iron fist at protesters in Gwadar, imposing an emergency statute that prohibits the gathering of five or more people. However, demonstrators and their leaders continued to pour into the streets — and get arrested — as more and more joined in from other towns on Thursday.

The police have rounded up some 100 protesters in the last four days, after tensions erupted in the port city. After months of peaceful protests for basic rights, police took action against protesters on Monday morning. In spite of the government trying to impose order, protests continued on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday, the provincial government imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Gwadar, banning gatherings of five or more people for a period one month. Displaying arms has also been prohibited.

A statement issued by the Balochistan home department said that under Section 144, “there will be a ban on all kinds of rallies, protests, sit-ins and gatherings of five or more people in the port city of Gwadar”. Hundreds remain on the streets despite this law being in force.

The provincial home minister, Ziaullah Langove, has said that the government would not compromise on the writ of the state, and would strictly deal with the elements behind “violent protests” and those “using women as human shields to gain sympathies”.

Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, who is leading the protests, said people were simply asking for their basic rights like water, electricity and jobs, and not a motorway or Orange Line.

However, workers and supporters of the Maulana Rehman-led Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) continued their protest in Gwadar, demanding the release of all people and activists of the movement.

All bazaars, banks, shops and business centres remained closed throughout the day amid protest marches on various roads of the port town. Other areas of the coastal district also continued to witness a shutter-down strike for the fourth day.