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'China concerned about escalating protests in Gwadar'

ANI | Updated: Dec 25, 2021 03:18 IST

Amsterdam [Netherlands], December 24 (ANI): As massive protests rocked Pakistan's Balochistan province, China is concerned about the escalating protests in Gwadar-both the non-violent and the armed versions of it, said a European think tank.
For the past several weeks, thousands of people have been protesting demanding basic rights as a part of "Gwadar ko haq do" movement in Gwadar.
"Pakistan in general, and the province of Balochistan in particular, has been no stranger to demands by vast sections of its population for basic rights that have either been denied to them or snatched away from them. Too often for comfort, these demands have been staked through violent protests involving senseless loss of lives," said the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS).
Since the second half of November Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman Baloch, a leader of a native fishing tribe, has been leading the largely local Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek and staging massive rallies and sit-ins in various parts of the province's Makran division to press for the demands of Gwadar's residents who number about one hundred thousand.
Traders and businesspeople also joined the movement and complete shut-down strikes and blocking of national highways connecting Gwadar with the economic hub of Karachi complemented the rallies and sit-ins.
The main demands of the movement included a ban on illegal trawling in the Arabian Sea, including massive Chinese fishing operations there which the protesters said had rendered the local fishermen and others jobless, access to coastal areas near the Gwadar seaport, and reopening of the Iranian border, which is a major commercial and trading center for the local population, the think tank said.
The protestors also demanded the removal of checkpoints erected for the security of Chinese nationals involved in CPEC projects and called for provision of basic amenities like drinking water, health, education, and employment opportunities that have long been denied in Gwadar despite the billions of dollars that have been pumped into the Gwadar port and other related projects under the CPEC, EFSAS said.
While Balochistan has long been suffering on account of the oppressive step-brotherly treatment meted out by Rawalpindi and Islamabad, it is the Chinese entry into the province through the CPEC that has compounded the exploitative tendencies of the Pakistani regime, the think tank said.
Earlier, the Canada-based think tank The International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) pointed out that "Gwadar is the main strategic hub of Chinese activities and it houses Gwadar port, which is touted as the 'jewel of the CPEC', said the think tank.
At the same time, it is the epicentre of anti-China sentiments". The think tank also believes that the ongoing protests and terror attacks against the CPEC could prove detrimental to China's future foreign investment in Pakistan, the think tank added. (ANI)


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