Balochistan police have issued orders to send 5,500 police personnel to Gwadar from various other districts for maintenance of law and order and on anti-riot duties amid the weeks long protests there, the Dawn reported.
According to a notification issued by Balochistan’s Central Police Office, the additional force being sent comprises deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) and station house officers (SHOs) in addition to lower-cadre personnel.
The development comes amid ongoing protests in Gwadar for the last 18 days by thousands of residents demanding access to clean drinking water and an end to “trawler mafia”, among other things.
Protesters 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.
Rehman told Dawn that the protesters blocked the Makran Coastal Highway from four different locations on Thursday, further extending the agitation. A shutter down strike was also observed in Gwadar on Thursday, with shops and markets shut 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.
Rehman said the movement would continue till the protesters’ demands are met. On the government requesting more time to meet the demands, he said that 70 years have already been provided and that there is no option now other than the implementation of the demands as soon as possible, the report added.
The protesters have also called for getting rid of unnecessary check-posts and not to “insult” citizens in the name of security. They also demanded that all wine stores in Gwadar be shut, and to allow border with Iran.
The demands also state that a majority of the people employed by the China Overseas Port Holding Company are from outside Gwadar, calling for giving priority to locals, the report said.