Balochistan police issued orders to dispatch 5,500 police officers to Gwadar from various other districts for law and order maintenance and riot control amid a multi-week protest, it became known Thursday.
According to a notification issued by the Balochistan Central Police Office, the additional police force being dispatched includes the Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP) and Police Station Officers (SHO), in addition to lower-ranking personnel.
The notification stated that the Gwadar Police Superintendent (SSP) would be the general commander of the force, while the highest ranking DSP would be the general commander of the police for the district in question. The police officers of the subdivisions would be in charge of the force of the subdivisions in question, while the SHOs would be in command of their respective police station personnel.
“Except ASP (Assistant Superintendent of Police) / DSP and SHO, no one may carry weapons. Two armed men with each ASP / DSP and each SHO must accompany police personnel and ensure their safety,” the notice said.
The development comes amid ongoing protests in Gwadar over the past 18 days by thousands of residents, demanding access to clean water and an end to the “trawler mafia”, among other things.
Protesters from Gwadar, Turbat, Pishkan, Zamran, Buleda, Ormara and Pasni are participating in the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Giving Rights to the Gwadar Movement) led by Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, a local leader from Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). They have promised to continue their protest until their demands are met.
The JI leader told Dawn.com that protesters blocked the Makran coastal highway from four different locations on Thursday, further spreading the protest. A closing strike was also observed in Gwadar today, with shops and markets closed throughout the city. Fishermen across the district also protested not to turn towards the sea.
He added that at the call of the unions, a closing strike is also being observed in Ormara and Pasni.
Rehman said the movement will continue until the protesters’ demands are met. As for the government that requested more time to attend the demands, he said that 70 years had already been granted and that now there was no other option but to implement the demands as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Balochistan’s Planning and Development Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi said “significant talks” were held with Rehman and his team, and that “a joint strategy was discussed after some progress in [the implementation of] their demands “.
“We hope that soon there will be a positive result in the Gwadar protest that is in favor of the people and Balochistan,” he tweeted.