ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the “very legitimate demands” of fishermen of Gwadar and assured them of taking stern action against the illegal fishing by trawlers.
After weeks-long protests by the people of Gwadar for fundamental rights, the prime minister in a tweet on Sunday assured them to speak to Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on the issue, so the reservations of the fishermen could be addressed.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Sunday said the PM directed in November to address the issue of illegal fishing in Gwadar immediately.
In a tweet, he said persons from all concerned departments were included in the committee to devise a workable solution to the issue. The committee would submit its recommendation during the next three days and the issue would be resolved, he added.
Gill said the prime minister always stands for the poor and no one will be allowed to exploit the poor. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government has done record development work in Balochistan, he added. He said Balochistan is very close to the heart of the PM.
The fishermen in Gwadar have been protesting against the devastating impact of illegal fishing by trawlers along the coast on the livelihoods of local fishermen. They have been staging a sit-in in the port city for their fundamental rights for more than 20 days. The sit-in is being led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, the provincial general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Balochistan.
Several rounds of talks between the Balochistan government and the protesters have failed, as the demonstrators said they will not end their protest on mere verbal promises. Their demands include the provision of potable water to the citizens, civic amenities, employment opportunities for locals and removal of unnecessary security checkpoints spread across the city.
The protesters have also demanded an end to illegal fishing in Gwadar’s waters by foreign trawlers, saying illegal fishing trawlers are destroying Baloch fisherfolk’s livelihood and the marine environment, and for restrictions on trade with Iran – a major source of income for the locals – to be lifted. The only demand that has been complied with so far is the closure of wine shops in Gwadar.