Thousands of Baloch fishermen in the port city of Gwadar in Balochistan are likely to lose their daily earnings of less than three dollars for three days in a row as Chinese investors descend on the strategic port Monday.
Gwadar is central to the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which aims to connect one of the most neglected of its western provinces, Xinjiang, with the port of Gwadar as part of President Xi ambitious “One Belt, One Road” plan (OBOR) project
According to Pak Voices, Gwadar administration has decided to ban fishing for three days due to upcoming business expo event to be held on 29th and 30th January in the port city, which will bring 250 companies from around the world including China. At the The Chinese and Pakistanis, who are illegally occupying Gwadar against the explicit wishes of the Baloch people, have billed the event as an important step towards attracting investment.
The move violates international laws, says Kachkol Ali Advocate, former Balochistan fisheries minister who lives in exile in Oslo, Norway.
“It is the beginning of the dictation of new master,” Ali Advocate told this scribe. This scribe had accompanied the outspoken politician for a interview with Radio Pakistan station in Quetta nearly quarter century ago. When the producer asked him what steps the government of Pakistan had taken to develop fisheries in Balochistan, Ali Advocate responded in a brutally honest manner, “None.”
Ali Advocate said since times immemorial majority of the inhabitants of Gwadar were fishermen, who earned their livelihood by fishing. “Depriving them of their inherent rights, is tantamount to killing them and their families economically. The government notification prohibiting fishermen to from fishing is a clear violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples 2007 and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” he said.
Citing the work economist Mehbubul Haq, he said the new concept of human security stresses the security of people, not only nations or states; new strategies of sustainable human development that weave development around people; new partnership between state and the market to combine market efficiency with social compassion; new forms of international cooperation, to focus assistance directly on the needs of people rather only on the preferences of government.
“The rising tide of people participation must be channeled into the foundation for a new humane society, where people finally take charge of their own destiny. But Baluch have been deprived a chance to decide their own destiny,” Ali Advocate lamented.
Uncertainty hangs over the fate of Gwadar’s fishermen. “These days, most of the time I see a ban on fishing around the port for security reasons, as well as restrictions put in place by construction. I have a small boat but I can’t go to out to sea to fish. In my boat there are seven people working, which means seven families are dependent on fishing. There are hundreds of small boats in Gwadar like mine,” a Baloch fisherman Rasool Bakhsh was cited in The Diplomat as saying.