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Pakistani citizens protest against China’s Gwadar Port, reasons given

Protests in Pakistan: Large-scale protests have started in Pakistan due to the unnecessary outposts created by the Gwadar Port in the Pakistani city of Gwadar, due to the acute shortage of water and electricity. The concern of the protesting citizens is the threat to their livelihood from illegal fishing. Local citizens are protesting against China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road project. Protests organized by activists of some political parties, civil rights activists, fishermen and concerned citizens have been going on for a week at Wai Chowk on Port Road in the coastal city of Gwadar in Pakistan’s restive southwest Balochistan province. These people have been gathering here for the last one week.

Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman, head of ‘Give Rights to Gwadar’, said, “Despite the construction of a port in Gwadar, people are unemployed, we are humiliated every time in the name of investigation by stopping electricity, water and security check points. According to the news, the protesters have demanded removal of unnecessary security posts, providing drinking water and electricity, removal of large mechanical fishing boats from Makran coast and opening of Iran border from Panjgur to Gwadar. Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman said that till the demands are not accepted, the protest will continue. He told that the government is not honest in resolving the problems of the people of this area.

According to the protesters, it is disrespectful for them to be stopped at checkpoints and asked about their whereabouts. This demonstration is part of discontent against the growing presence of China in Gwadar. The Gwadar port is an important part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC). India has already expressed its objection to the project with China as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Gwadar is also home to a long-running violent insurgency in Balochistan. In such a situation, the presence of China has been the cause of social unrest and it has given rise to anti-Chinese sentiment in Pakistan. This has also given impetus to Baloch extremist insurgent groups who have carried out terrorist attacks in protest against the CPEC project.

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