Pak media urges restraint as Gwadar situation turns tense


The clashes occurred this month between locals and security forces in Gwadar as protests against illegal fishing turned violent…reports Asian Lite News

As the ‘Haq Do Tehreek’ (HDT) protests threaten to blow up on Pakistan’s ruling establishment in the port city of Gwadar, the country’s media has urged provincial authorities in Balochistan to exercise restraint.

The clashes occurred this month between locals and security forces in Gwadar as protests against illegal fishing turned violent after some people were arrested in the port city, The Balochistan Post reported. The HDT activists have been protesting in the city for nearly two months. The protestors’ demands include an end to illegal trawling in Gwadar’s water, the high number of security checkpoints and an opening up of trade on the Pak-Iran border.

“While violence cannot be condoned, the state needs to handle this issue with care,” the Dawn newspaper said in an editorial.

“The fact is that many of the HDT’s demands are justified, and reflect the deeper malaise affecting Balochistan, as many of the province’s people feel they are not getting the fruit of ‘development’ that projects such as CPEC and others are supposed to bring,” the Pakistan daily added.

The Dawn editorial, published on Wednesday, argued against the crackdown on the protesters and advised that the state resolve the impasse and address the people’s genuine problems.

Earlier this week, a police constable was killed in Gwadar as clashes between the locals and police continued. Police said a constable was shot dead during violence at the Hashmi Chowk.

Police spokesperson Aslam Khan told Dawn that the police had decided to register a murder case against Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) leader Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, who has been leading the protests in the city.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove claimed that some of the HDT demands did not fall within the provincial government’s jurisdiction. “Some non-paid custom ships were caught but we don’t have the authority to release them,” Langove said.

In a statement, he said the HDT’s demands regarding the border and Gwadar port were ‘fair’ but regretted that the provincial authorities could not do anything about them.

The Balochistan minister said most of their demands are related to the federal government. “We have the right to take action against protestors who take law into their hands,” he added.

Earlier, Ziaullah said police have arrested 18 HDT protesters, who attacked the police complex and set the complex gate on fire and were insisting on blocking the Gwadar port.

“Whoever breaks or takes law into his hands would be dealt with according to the law, even if he is a Maulana,” he warned. (ANI)

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