The protests and sit-ins led by the Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) in the port city of Gwadar resonated in Senate on Monday, with lawmakers denouncing the rights violations in Balochistan.
For the past year, the port city has been gripped by protests led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, chief of the Haq Do Tehreek, for being denied basic facilities, from healthcare to electricity to clean drinking water.
During the session presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Mushtaq Ahmed condemned the violation of basic human rights, lamenting that over 18 cases were lodged against the movement’s leader whose charter has gained widespread popularity among the masses.
Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan on Monday said the responsibility of resolving the Gwadar issues was primarily the provincial government’s responsibility after the 18th Amendment of the Constitution.
The minister made these remarks while winding up the discussion on the motion presented by Senator Kamran Murtaza and Mushtaq Ahmed on the recent situation of protests in Gwadar City on alleged illegal trawling in the sea, a high number of security checkpoints operating in and around the city and also trade on Pak-Iran Border purportedly affecting the residents of Gwadar.
Awan said the local issues, other than security or law and order, were related to the provincial government.
While explaining the context in which the protests are taking place, he insisted the demands of small fishermen in Gwadar were fair.
“On November 21, 2021, the former prime minister created a special committee to contain trawling. However, on December 26, 2022, the Balochistan government requested the interior ministry to control the law and order situation that was aggravated after the death of a police constable,” the minister of state said.
He noted that the federal government was well aware of the situation and, therefore, a special committee comprising the minister for maritime affairs to resolve the issues of Gwadar fishermen.
“The house must demand the report of this committee to review the measures being taken so far,” he urged.
Meanwhile, Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar asked who was responsible to provide water and electricity to the people of Gwadar. “Is it Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif or Imran Khan or the chief minister? After the 18th Amendment, it is the responsibility of the chief minister.”
The senator argued that it was not a matter of anti-state attitude but rather an issue of civil rights, where allegedly the poor governance of the provincial government was a major issue contributing to it.
He alleged that the elected representative of Gwadar in the provincial assembly, despite his influence, was contributing more to the problems rather than playing his constructive role to resolve the crisis.
Earlier, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed while presenting the motion apprised the house that Gwadar’s Haq Do Tehreek was a just protest in resistance to the mishandling of the stakeholders, persecution of women, children, elderly, and others for demanding their fundamental rights.
“The Constitutions Articles 16, 17 and 19 allow the countrymen freedom of assembly, association and expression respectively. The locals of Gwadar are being deprived of all these. The Haq Do Tehreek leader Moulana Hidayatur Rehman held three sit-ins to draw the attention of the provincial government,” he added.
Senator Ahmed said the tehreek earlier presented 42-point demands to the chief minister pertaining to education, health, border trade, missing persons, water availability and others that were all legal.
“Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qudus Bizenjo had agreed to the demands of the Tehreek but was not implemented afterwards,” he claimed.
Senator Tahir Bizejo on point of order urged the House to take serious note of the situation in Gwadar.
Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said the people of Gwadar for centuries were relying on fisheries and their concerns should be addressed.
Courtesy Express Tribune