Nationalists launch court arrest drive in Gwadar
* Accuse FC, border forces of harassing shopkeepers, passengers and abetting smuggling
By Aziz Sanghur
KARACHI: Baloch nationalist parties have launched a “jail bharo tehrik” (court arrest campaign) in Gwadar district against the border forces, including the Pakistan Coast Guards and the Frontier Corps (FC), according to a National Party’s press release issued here on Sunday.
More than 16 leaders and political workers have already courted arrest in Gwadar as part of the campaign that has been started after ending the wheel-jam and shutter-down strike, announced Baloch nationalist parties, including the National Party, Balochistan National Party (Mengal), Jamhoori Watan Party, Baloch Students Organisation, besides transporters and civil society organisations.
Nationalist leaders, including Ghafoor Hoth and Musafar of the BNP, Hussain Wadella, Rahem Bux and Ismail of the NP, Ahmed Dad Baloch and Suleman of the JWP and Qayyum Baloch of the BSO, besides a large number of transporters, have courted arrest, according to the press statement.
Talking to Daily Times, Pervez Baloch, leader of the National Party, said that on March 23, the situation had become worse when the Coast Guards had illegally raided several shops in the main market of town. He said the border forces should seal the Pak-Iran border but they were involved in smuggling with smugglers.
He said that their protest would continue till their demands were accepted, and urged the government to transfer all Coast Guards officials who were involved in the harassment of shopkeepers.
Pervez Baloch also demanded removal all FC check posts in main Gwadar markets and fish harbours. The government should seal the Pak-Iran border to curb smuggling, he said.
“The border security agencies, including Coast Guards and Mekran Scouts, are also mistreating and harassing passengers travelling on the Mekran Coastal Highway and RCD routes between Karachi and Mekran,” said Yaqoob Baloch, another leader of the National Party.
He alleged that the Pakistan Coast Guards and the Mekran Scout had set up several check posts at Gwadar, Pasni, Hingol, Hoshab and Uthal. Their personnel were in the habit of mistreating and harassing passengers on the pretext of security checks, he added.
He said that they usually consumed over two to three hours for checking passengers, thus causing difficulties to commuters, especially women, children and patients, going to Karachi.
The NP leader said Mekran was one of the backward areas in the country and that its residents were facing health, education and communication problems since long. He said the people of the town and its adjoining parts had to travel to Karachi for various reasons, including medical treatment, and that the journey took about 24 hours as most of routes were not carpeted and were bumpy.
"The Coast Guards should seal the Pak-Iran Boarder and curb smuggling but they are allowing it. They have no right to mistreat the local people travelling to Karachi from Gwadar, Turbat, Pasni and Ormara by road," said Jamil Pervez, a resident of Gwadar Town.