Amid protests in Gwadar and Quetta, the government of Balochistan has promulgated an ordinance that imposes a ban on staging sit-ins and rallies and on taking out processions. Those who violate the Criminal law Ordinance can be given a jail sentence of three to six months along with a Rs10,000 penalty.
The Ordinance, issued by Balochistan Governor Syed Zahoor Agha, has been enforced in the name of ‘ensuring the free movement of people without any hurdles and hindrance’.
The Ordinance comes in the wake of protests in Gawadar over the lack of safe drinking water and protests by students at the Balochistan university after two of their fellows went missing from hostel premises.
On Thursday, Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement) had agreed to postpone their planned sit-in for three days after talks with a team of government officials. People from Gawadr, Zamran, Buleda, Ormara, Pasni, and Turbat had been taking part in a week-long protest for the acceptance of their demands. One of the most important demands was to take over the powers of running the Pak-Iran border from the Frontier Corps (FC) and giving it to the district administration.
Balochistan University students had also been protesting for the recovering of two missing students, Faseeh Baloch and Sohail Baloch. The protests started on November 7 and on November 9 the protesting students had locked the gates of the university announcing that no one would take exams. The protest was paused on November 13 after talks with government officials. It began again on November 18 after the government failed to fulfill its promise of recovering the students. On Friday the protest was once again suspended for 15 days after fresh assurances by the government.