Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Promises ‘Strong Action’ Against Illegal Fishing

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that he will take strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers off the Gwadar coast, after weeks-long sit-in and protest by local residents rattled the government and forced authorities to deploy thousands of additional police officers in the region.

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Hundreds of local residents, civil society activists, lawyers, journalists including women have been holding massive protests and a sit-in Gwadar for the last 28 days against unnecessary checkpoints, a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods from illegal fishing.

I have taken notice of the very legitimate demands of the hardworking fishermen of Gwadar. Will be taking strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers & will also speak to CM Balochistan, Khan tweeted.

Mr Rehman, who is leading the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement), said their two major demands were – action against “trawler mafia” and resolution of issues on the Iran border – from overall 19 demands.

Meanwhile, Adviser to the Balochistan Chief Minister on Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Ziaullah Lagau said that the protesters had a list of 19 demands, 16 of which had been accepted by the government.

“The demands accepted include illegal trawlers fishing in Gwadar port, patrolling increased to check on illegal trawlers, Freedom for local fishermen to go to sea, elimination of unnecessary checkposts on major roads, closure of wine shops in Gwadar and elimination of interference in cross-border trade with Iran and end to all kinds of interference and establishment of trade markets at border,” he told reporters.

The protests in Balochistan are part of growing discontent with China’s presence in Gwadar, whose port is an integral part of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The massive infrastructure project connects China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.Gwadar port has long been portrayed as the jewel in the CPEC crown, but in the process, the city has become the very embodiment of a security state.

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