‘Haq Do Tehreek’ (Gwadar Rights Movement) protest movement entered the second month on December 25 and it’s getting bigger amid rising tension between the Pakistan Government and the demonstrators, reported Asian Lite International.
With Gwadar the symbolic ‘crown jewel’ or the main entry point of CPEC in Pakistan, the Gwadar Rights Movement leader, Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman Baloch, and other leaders, understand the criticality of the issue for both the Pakistan government and Beijing.
The HDT protesters have blocked the Gwadar East-Bay Expressway, the main artery of the Gwadar region, and the under-construction Gwadar International Airport, as part of the ongoing stir.
On December 24, the Balochistan government and protest leaders held the latest round of negotiations but failed to make any headway, reported Asian Lite International.
Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman Baloch claimed the government officials, who took part in the negotiations, had ‘no authority’ to implement the demands that the protesters had put forward.
With the talks not making any headway, tensions continue to prevail in Gwadar, including road blockades, hindering the movements of Chinese engineers and local labourers, who are working to implement the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the region, reported Asian Lite International.
The ‘Haq Do Tehreek’ leadership does not have any faith in the Balochistan government while the political leadership in Islamabad is extremely weak and ignorant of the rightful demands of the Baloch people, the report said.
They are catering to Chinese commercial interests in Balochistan through CPEC projects.
Last year, Rehman led a similar protest for 32 days, after which the Pakistan government negotiated with him and assured him that his demands would be met.
Despite official assurances, Gwadar continues to face the same problems, especially increasing Chinese influence on local maritime and mining resources. The movement’s leadership learned hard lessons last time and has warned the government that “if our demands are not met our sit-in will continue”, reported Asian Lite International.
Participants are demanding an immediate ban on illegal trawling in Balochistan’s maritime boundaries, recovery of missing Baloch people, closure of unnecessary security checkpoints, primacy to local workers over Chinese citizens, maximum concessions in border trade with Iran, and end to narcotics, among other Gwadar-related issues.
Expectedly, both the local and federal governments have ignored these demands and deadlines given by the protestors to implement them.
Thousands of residents, including women and children, have blocked the main expressway leading to Gwadar port, raising anti-government slogans to pressure the policymakers in Islamabad, reported Asian Lite International.
On December 2, protestors staged a sit-in outside the Gwadar International Airport to “put pressure on the government for the acceptance of its demands”.
On December 10, thousands of women rallied in Gwadar to show solidarity with Maulana Rehman. On December 16, the Maulana and his supporters brandished weapons, implying that they were even willing to resort to violence to press for their demands.
The Maulana has issued a threat to the Chinese nationals living in Gwadar, according to reports, warning that if the government “ignores” their peaceful protests, the participants have a right “to pick up and use weapons to protect our rights.”
Media reports suggest that there are fewer than 500 Chinese in Gwadar, all based in the Gwadar Port compound, reported Asian Lite International.
Rehman and the other protestors had largely avoided threatening China openly last year.
Chinese citizens are facing increasing threats from different militant groups in Pakistan, with a rise in recent incidents of targeted attacks on China nationals.
The growing anti-China sentiment in Gwadar may adversely impact the progress of key CPEC projects, say reports. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.