BYC Protests Against Fencing of Gwadar

Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC, A human rights organization active for human rights in Balochistan) organized a large-scale demonstration rally in Gwadar, the coast city of Balochistan, which is also known for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), against the erection of fencing within the city by Pakistani state.

The rally attracted a diverse group of participants, including women, children, and the elderly, who carried banners and placards protesting against the Gwadar fencing, ‘Baloch genocide,’ and enforced disappearances of Baloch people, rally took the shape of huge public gathering at Shuda-e-Jiwani Chowk.Sebghat Ullah Baloch, a prominent activist of BYC and other speakers addressed to the crowd. They recounted historical attempts by individuals from Punjab to acquire local lands—efforts which they declared have consistently failed. “Balochs are still living on their land, and dreams of overtaking it will never be realized,” the speakers asserted.

The speakers criticized the stated security rationale behind the fencing, questioning the actual benefits to the local Baloch population. “From whom are the Baloch in danger? They themselves are hidden behind high walls.”

They highlighted the peaceful coexistence in Gwadar, noting that mosques and temples are built side by side. “If their intention is to seize Baloch lands by erecting fences, those dreams will never come to fruition,” they declared.The speakers also discussed the adverse effects of CPEC infrastructure projects. “

The fencing in Gwadar will not ensure the safety of those who are victims of enforced disappearances. Flooding has devastated the livelihoods of fishermen, leaving many homeless and in extreme misery. The fencing is being erected to secure Gwadar for the Chinese and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, while local people are being neglected and put at further risk,” they added.Sibghatullah Baloch further criticized the narrative of protection being used to justify the fencing. “

The situation is clear as glass. Gwadar has been divided into two parts for the protection of foreigners, with amenities from the airport to the Gwadar port favoring non-locals. Now, the city is being enclosed with fences in the name of protection. What kind of law turns our homes into prisons for our own safety? The army, which consumes billions in the security budget, will now find protection by confining our homes within fences?” he questioned.

It should be noted that Pakistani authorities decided to erect a fence around the city at the request of the Chinese government to protect it from attacks by Baloch ‘pro-independence’ groups. The fencing initiative, initiated three years ago, faced strong public backlash, resulting in its suspension. However, the process has recently resumed and is once again facing strong opposition from the Baloch populace.

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