Protesters block highway leading to Gwadar port

by IANS |

Islamabad, Nov 21 (IANS) Tens of thousands of protesters, including women and children, blocked an expressway leading to the Gwadar port in Balochistan after what they said was the Pakistan governments failure to meet a November 20 deadline to implement their demands.

The rally participants, fishermen, students and labourers led by Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek's leader Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, marched towards the port and raised slogans against the government, reports Dawn news.

Among the movement's demands are stopping illegal fishing by trawlers in Balochistan's maritime boundaries, recovery of missing persons, maximum concessions in border trade with Iran, end to narcotics and other Gwadar-related issues, Dawn reported.

This new series of sit-ins and protests, which began on October 27, entered 25th day on Sunday and came after similar month-long rallies last year, some of the largest the port city of around a hundred thousand residents ever witnessed.

Speaking at the rally, Maulana Rehman and other speakers strongly condemned the federal and provincial governments for not implementing the agreement reached with the movement leaders last year.

"The struggle of Haq Do movement will continue until the problems are solved," Maulana Rehman said on Twitter.

"Today, once again the people of Gwadar have given a clear message to the ruling classes. If attention is not given, the public will have no choice but to close the port."

Haq Do Tehreek also held sit-ins last year and they only ended after federal and provincial authorities assured protesters that their demands would be met, Dawn reported.

However, people are on the road again, accusing the governments of reneging on their promises.

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