Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took notice of the “very legitimate” demands of the Gwadar fishermen regarding illegal fishing by ‘outside trawlers’ in the waters of Gwadar.
Thousands of the fishermen along with their families have been protesting for almost one month against the ‘trawler mafia’ which according to them had been depriving Gwadar’s natives of their resources by taking away tonnes of fish through illegal fishing.
Their demands included expulsion of large fishing trawlers encroaching on their livelihood and provision of health facilities, drinking water, schools and basic infrastructure.
Led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, General Secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami Balochistan, the protesters vowed to continue their protest till the achievement of their rights.
In a tweet, the prime minister said he would take strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers in the area.
The prime minister’s tweet was followed by a series of tweets highlighting the plight of the fishermen and the local community in Gwadar and welcoming the prime minister’s intervention.
“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 and will also speak to CM Balochistan,” tweeted the premier.
“Protest to continue until demands met”
Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, who is leading the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement), told media a day earlier the protest would continue until the acceptance of two major demands — action against “trawler mafia” and resolution of issues on Iran border — from the overall 19 demands.
Locals say the trawlers, which are illegally plundering the Arabian seabed, are making it harder for fishermen to fish in the waters.
‘Fishing, main source of locals’ income’
Fishing is one of the main sources of income for residents of the area. “It has become tough to run the kitchen now,” Rehana Gul, said Ghafoor one of the protesting fishermen.
“Recently, there have been days when I, had to return home empty-handed with no money to feed our children,” he further said.
Despite protests from local fishermen about the fleets, they have received no response from the Gwadar Development Authority or the Balochistan government.
Anis Tarique Gorgej, Assistant Commissioner had said that the local administration was in touch with the protestors and all their concerns will be addressed.
“We are already working on stopping the trawlers and to facilitate trade at the Iranian border,” Gorgej further said, however adding “Fulfilling all the demands will take some time.”