Protesters tear-gassed, detained as violence breaks in Gwadar

Protesters tear-gassed, detained as violence breaks in Gwadar
Protesters tear-gassed, detained as violence breaks in Gwadar

GWADAR/QUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Ullah Langove has warned that anyone who questions the state writ would be treated with an iron fist, just after Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) members and police battled in the streets of Gwadar, setting fire to the main gate of the police complex.

Violent demonstrators were tear-gassed and over a dozen were detained on Monday, a day after discussions between the two parties to terminate the two-month-long sit-in failed to make any progress.
As HDT leader Maulana Hidayat ur Rahman issued a strike call, all commercial activity in the port city remained suspended, and public transportation remained off the roads throughout the day. The protesters then marched down the streets, threw rocks at the DIG Makran Range police complex, and set fire to the complex’s main gate.

Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob, which had become violent as a result of police intervention, while they also erected barricades and obstacles on the route leading to the port. Also, reporting shutdowns were Pasni, Jewani, and Ormara.

The protesters had besieged roads leading to sensitive installations, navy offices, the Pearl Continental Hotel, and the under-construction international airport, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove said at a press conference. As a result, law enforcement agencies had taken strict action against the protesters for attempting to block the Gwadar deep sea port and halt construction work in the region.

He added that the police had no choice but to prevent the demonstrators from entering the port, adding that they had detained 18 HDT members who had stormed the police complex, set the complex gate on fire, and demanded to block the port.

The home minister issued a warning: “Whoever would breach the law or take the law into their own hands will be handled in accordance to the law, even if Maulana is discovered complicit in it.”

He recalled that the HDT leadership sent four representatives in his place to the meetings with the official team instead of him, indicating that the government is willing to engage in negotiations with the Maulana but would not permit anybody to contest the legitimacy of the state.

He said they received an update on the status of problems like ending trawling and Iran-related issues.

However, he claimed that the HDT representatives had cited the Maulana as stating, “I have taken my vengeance by not attending the discussions and now talks will place the next day,” while speaking to the deputy commissioner.

He said that despite the government team’s best efforts, the opposing party did not resume its negotiations.

In response to their requests, the minister claimed that even Levies men had been sent in to stop unlawful trawling in the waters around Balochistan. Customs, Wapda, and tax-free zones are federal government concerns, but the provincial administration promised to raise them with the center by establishing a joint committee, he said.

The minister claimed that unless Maulana Hidayatur Rehman explains why his non-custom-paid vehicle was impounded, the government is unable to intervene.

When questioned about the rise in terror attacks in the province, he stated that although the government was making every effort to maintain control, the assaults were being carried out in Balochistan by terrorists who had returned following the shift in Afghani leadership.


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