Pakistan's provincial government in Balochistan has banned protests and imposed a curfew in the port city of Gwadar after a policeman was killed in clashes with protestors during the week, an official statement said on Friday.
Protesters linked with the Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) led by a cleric Maulana Hidaytur Rehman have been demonstrating for nearly two months against illegal fishing by trawlers at the cost of local fishermen who have been dependent on the fish trade for generations for their livelihood.
Protests turned violent this week
The normally peaceful protests became violent this week when police tried to push them away, leading to clashes which resulted in the killing of a policeman on Tuesday. Police spokesperson Aslam Khan said that constable Yasir was shot in the neck after violence erupted during the protest at the Hashmi Chowk and thereafter he passed away on the spot.
Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove said that the provincial government already accepted all the demands of the HDT and there were no reasons for protests.
However, the protestors refused to go away, forcing the authorities on Thursday to impose Section 144 in the city, banning all sort of gathering for one month. "Sit-ins and any other public gathering of over five people have been prohibited under Section 144. It also banned the display of all sorts of weapons," Balochistan's home ministry said in a statement.
#Gwadar's residents, under @HDT_Balochistan banner, protest near Chinese-operated port in the coastal town, demanding the govt to resolve water and energy shortages, ease security checkpoints, and end the illegal trawling that is devastating the livelihood of fishermen. pic.twitter.com/GQoy9HqJ7M— Zia Ur Rehman (@zalmayzia) November 20, 2022
The HDT has become popular in Gwadar as its demands like ending illegal fishing in Gwadar’s water got immediate support. Its other demands include ending some security checkpoints and opening up of trade on the Pak-Iran border have also resonated with the locals.
Reportedly, protests were also held in Pasni, Jewani, and Ormara which are all coastal towns near Gwadar in support of HDT.
(With inputs from PTI)