Pakistan fencing Balochistan’s Gwadar city, Baloch people angry

at 6:14 pm
Gwadar Port in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan. (File Pic)

Quetta: In a move that has raised an alarm among the ethnic Baloch people, Pakistan has started work to fence Gwadar coastal town of occupied Balochistan, where China is redeveloping the port as part of its Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI).

The Baloch people see it as a design to split Balochistan by “besieging” Gwadar, with the possibility of demographic changes there.

The move is seen as an attempt by Pakistan to placate China which has been angry against Islamabad following a major attack some time back by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) on its workers in the port town.

China is involved in redevelopment of the Gwadar Port as part of BRI.

But the local Baloch people say China is collaborating with Pakistan in looting the rich resources, including minerals, of Balochistan.

Baloch National Movement (BNM) Chairman Dr Naseem Baloch, while taking a serious view of the development, has warned that the “extreme measure” being taken by Pakistan will face tough resistance from the locals.

“The Pakistani state is aggressively advancing its colonialist agenda, hastily collaborating with global partners, aiming to displace the Baloch nation from the Baloch coast,” he said, adding, “This includes the divisive tactic of isolating Gwadar, Balochistan’s primary coastal city, under the guise of establishing a ‘Safe City’.

Naseem Baloch said that previously, discussions focused on implementing a Special Resident Card for entry into Gwadar.

“However, the current approach involves fencing the city under the pretext of security, paving the way for its eventual separation from the rest of Balochistan,” he said.

He disclosed that according to the plan, a barrier will stretch from the zero point to Pishukan beach, severely curtailing citizens’ freedom of movement.

Strongly condemning the construction of the Gwadar fence, the BNM Chairman said “this extreme measure will face staunch resistance fuelled by national solidarity and determination.”

Calling for mounting of resistance “at all levels to counter this encroachment on our rights”, he said, “It must be understood that this issue transcends the interests of a select few landowners; it concerns the entire Baloch nation.”

The BNM chief said that despite the ongoing struggle for independence in Balochistan, those involved have refrained from harming civilians. “Yet, the occupiers (Pakistan) seek to besiege the entire city, claiming it is to safeguard their installations and personnel, a pretext vehemently opposed by the Baloch nation.”

He underlined that this “isn’t solely about security” but “it’s an insidious attempt to alter the demographic makeup of Balochistan.”

Rejecting Pakistan’s excuse related to safety, Naseem Baloch said, “If security were the primary concern, Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, would have been secured by fencing long ago.”