Unrest in coastal belt – 29 Dec 2022

Locals blame the government for adopting tactics that come to further burden their woes

Unrest coupled with violence in Gwadar is quite unnerving. The killing of a police constable at the hands of Haq Do Tehreek activists is highly condemnable, and hints at deep-rooted frustration. While the locals have been protesting for their due rights in Gwadar as well as other coastal regions of Pasni, Jewani and Ormara, the flaring up of violence is disappointing. The locals in the restive and desolate province are rightly protesting for their logical demands such as an end to illegal trawling, undue harassment at checkpoints and for opening up the international frontier for trade with Iran. Though the authorities say most of the demands have been met, the locals beg to differ and blame the government for adopting tactics that come to further burden their woes.

The ongoing protests have an ordeal to tell. While Balochistan is the seat of CPEC activities, it is remorseful that the locals feel neglected and segregated from the big-ticket projects. This impression has to be undone, and the poor people who are striving for better economic opportunities must be taken onboard. An introspection into the revulsion going on in the southern belt of the province with shores on the Arabian Sea suggests that there is a tug of war between the provincial and federal governments over the subjects in their respective domain. And this red-tapism comes at the cost of locals’ socio-economic plight.

This is why Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove was apt as he said that many of the demands of the agitators do not fall in his purview, as they pertain to federation. But again the point is why exhibit such a lethargy and obliviousness to the affairs of social mobility, which have literally degenerated the society into parochial tendencies. Baloch are in need of being heard, and their grievances addressed on a war-footing basis. It is a pity that most of the demands primarily of the fishermen community pertain to basic civic amenities, and the right to enjoy unhindered access to sea catch. They are not asking for heavens.

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