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Gwadar rising: Time for government to act

Protests have been going on in the port city of Gwadar in Balochistan for weeks now. Hundreds of women and children have taken part in the protest, along with thousands others under the banner of ‘Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek’. The protesters are demanding basic rights, such as putting an end to trawlers who are making livelihood of fishermen difficult, removal of check posts, establishment of university in Gwadar, provision of clean drinking water etc.

Initially the government had completely ignored the protests, but recently, with rising numbers, the government has started to take notice of the protest, with Prime Minister Imran Khan specifically mentioning in a tweet that he had taken notice of the legitimate demands of the hardworking fishermen of Gwadar.

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This is a step in the right direction, as any delay in the matter will worsen the situation. The government should be wary of this protest, and deal with it with caution, as it is occurring in a province that is already witnessing a separatist insurgency. The protest has gained quite a momentum, and has organic support of people from all circles of life. If the government continues to ignore this protest, it will give change to malevolent elements like separatists to convince the disgruntled population of the province to their cause.

The government must deal with this protest in a peaceful manner, and should not resort to suppressive measures. It should not put any sort of ban on the protesters or its leaders, lest the level of resentment among the protesters rise. It should try its level best to listen to the demands of the protesters and should possibly fully cede to them, since none of the demands are against national security interests.

Lastly, it should not declare this movement as against the interests of the state and should put in maximum efforts to stop any disinformation in this regard.

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Written by Mustafa Ali | Lahore



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