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Saturday, September 30 2023

Imran Khan promises action against illegal fishing after Gwadar protests

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Islamabad: After weeks-long protests by the people of Gwadar for fundamental rights, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday December 12 said the government will take “strong action” against illegal fishing by travellers off the Gwadar coast, Express Tribune reported.

In a tweet, the premier said he had taken notice of the “very legitimate demands” of the hardworking fisherfolk of Gwadar, a linchpin of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

According to the premier, he will also speak to Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo so the reservations of the Balochistan fishing community could be addressed.

The people of Gwadar have been staging a sit-in in the port city for their fundamental rights for more than 20 days. The sit-in is being led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, the provincial general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Balochistan.

Several rounds of talks between the Balochistan government and the protesters have failed, as the demonstrators said they will not end their protest on mere verbal promises, the report said.

Their demands include the provision of potable water to the citizens, civic amenities, employment opportunities for locals, and removal of unnecessary security checkpoints spread across the city.

The protesters have also demanded an end to illegal fishing in Gwadar’s waters by foreign trawlers, saying illegal fishing trawlers were destroying Baloch fisherfolk’s livelihood and the marine environment, and for restrictions on trade with Iran — a major source of income for the locals — to be lifted.

The only demand that has been complied with so far is the closure of wine shops in Gwadar, the report added.

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