GWADAR/QUETTA: The situation across the coastal district of Gwadar remained tense for the third consecutive day following clashes between police and protesters that has resulted in dozens of arrests and at least one death. Constable Yasir Saeed Ari, 21, was shot during a stand off between police and protesters on Monday evening, and succumbed to his injuries. Upon the instructions of the Balochistan home minister, a case was registered against Haq Do Tehreek (Gwadar Rights Movement) leader Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman and at least two others in connection with the cop’s death.
While the latest round of protests have been ongoing for nearly two months, the clashes took place after arrests following a late night raid on the protesters’ camp on Sunday night resulted in an escalation.
Videos shared on social media for the last two days showed protesters and police involved in angry exchanges and stand offs. At several key points, police responded with shelling to disperse supporters.
The provincial government accused the protesters of blocking access to the Gwadar port. Protesters say they are pressing for the fulfilment of their demands, including an end to illegal fishing, share of locals in CPEC and government jobs. Other demands include recovery of missing perosns and provision of livelihood to Gwadar residents. The city also has poor elecricity and water supply.
Following the death of the policeman on Tuesday, reports emerged that the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC) force had been tasked with maintaining security in the district.
Locals say that a communication blockade has been put in place,with mobile networks and landlines down.
Markets and businesses have stayed closed since Monday, with residents saying they are running out of food rations.
There have been reports of violence, with the Aaj News Gwadar correspondent saying that vehicles parked outside houses in Gwadar were attacked by vandals. The cars were damaged and their windows and windscreens shattered in different parts of the city.
Similar reports came in from the Al Shifa Hospital, where doctors and hospital staff said that their vehicles parked outside the hospital were also damaged.
Some locals have accused law enforcers of being responsible for the damage to vehicles.
The Aaj News reporter added that the Gwadar police chief was scheduled to hold a press conference last night but it didn’t take place.
Regarding the cop’s murder, the police said that he was shot from a pistol fired from the direction of the protesters.
Protestors say that he was caught in the crossfire of his own colleagues and died from a bullet of the Kalashnikov submachine gun used by the police. It will be determined after the post-mortem becomes available.
Protests continued outside the Pasni Press Club and the office of the district administration for the third day in the Pasni city of Gwadar district. Mobile phone networks, including Zong, Telenor and Ufone, remain shut off with heavy contingent of law enforcers deployed from Ormara to Zero Point.