By Our Staff reporter
Gwadar: Taking notice of unprecedented protests which broke out throughout Gwadar, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said “very legitimate demands” of the “fishermen of Gwadar” will be addressed.
“I have taken notice of the very legitimate demands of the hardworking fishermen of Gwadar. Will be taking strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers & will also speak to CM Balochistan,” Prime Minister announced on Twitter.
Prime Minister’s announcement was perceived very well the thousands of protesters including women,
Chief Minister of Balochistan Mr. Bizenjo and chief of the Gwadar protest movement Maulana Hidayatur Rehman welcomed the statement .
“It is a welcoming statement. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for taking notice of our legal demands. However, the real issue was fulfillment of promises. I am sure sure Prime Minister will not disappoint us,” Maulana Hidayatur Rehman told journalists.
It is worth mentioning that the protest, which began roughly a month ago, has been attended by thousands of people, including women and children as well as fishermen. The have been found marching on the main roads and streets of Gwadar for almost a month in support of their movement. Their demands range from the presence of large fishing trawlers encroaching on their livelihood to lack of health facilities and drinking water.
Massive protests have erupted port city of Gwadar against unnecessary checkpoints, a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods from illegal fishing.
The protests organised by workers of some political parties, civil rights activists, fishermen and concerned citizens have been going on for a month at Y Chowk on Port Road in Gwadar, a coastal town in the restive Southwest Balochistan province of Pakistan.
The protesters demand the removal of unnecessary security check posts, availability of drinking water and electricity, eviction of big fishing trawlers from Makran coast and opening of the border with Iran from Panjgur to Gwadar.
Following statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan, protesters were seen cool and calm. Majority of them told representatives of media that they believe Prime Minister Imran Khan will not turn his back on them,
“I have strong believe that [ Prime Minister Imran] Khan will not disappoint us. Our demands are legal and he will act to address them as promised,” Nazir Jan, one of the organizers of protest told media.
According to Dawn, the demands and progress made, according to the authorities, are as follows:
- End to illegal trawlers: Office of director general of Fisheries moved to Gwadar and patrolling increased to check on illegal trawlers
- Freedom for fishermen to go to sea: Elimination of special token system to go to sea. Fishermen are now allowed to go without any permission
- Elimination of unnecessary checkposts on major roads: All unnecessary checkposts removed
- Closure of wine shops in Gwadar All wine shops closed on government instructions
- Elimination of interference in cross-border trade with Iran: End to all kinds of interference and establishment of trade markets at border
- Establishment of a university in Gwadar: Appointment of a vice chancellor for Gwadar University, classes to start soon
- Appointments on empty seats of education department’s non-teaching staff: Selection process for appointment completed, officials sent for appointment
- Curtailing the sale of fake medicines: Inspection of Gwadar’s medical stores completed
- Waivers and subsidies on utility bills: Policy on issue to be clarified soon, chief minister has written a letter to Quetta Electric Supply Company
- Release of seized cars and boats by coastguard: Legal team formed on the issue
- Provision of clean drinking water: Supply of water initiated, water project to be completed soon
- Priority to locals on jobs for development projects: Special desk formed on the issue in district commissioner’s office
- Implementation on agreement with Dar Bela affectees: Compensation paid to affectees, separate area being selected for land compensation
- Compensation paid to Expressway affectees: Compensation paid to affectees, special measures being taken for remaining people
- Removal of cases on protest leaders and names from Fourth Schedule: Matter sent to the provincial cabinet
- Damages for losses due to storms and illegal trawlers: Survey completed of fishermen’s losses, matter of compensation sent to Provincial Disaster Management Authority and orders issued for immediate compensation16 out of 19 demands have been met, claims CM’s adviserMeanwhile, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Ziaullah Lagau told a press conference today that the protesters had a list of 19 demands, 16 of which had been accepted by the government.