Pakistan's strategic port city of Gwadar which witnessed five days of unrelenting anti-government protests is slowly returning to normalcy, according to a media report on Saturday.
Shops and business centres started reopening on Friday and traffic was restored between the port city and Karachi as well as other areas. Though bazaars remained open in different areas of Gwadar town, the situation was still tense and people preferred to stay at home, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The Gwadar deputy commissioner said in a statement that life in the port city and other areas of the district was returning to normal, with the cooperation of the people and joint efforts of the government and security forces, who had taken steps to resolve the issue.
The commissioner’s office said shops and trading and commercial centres were re-opening and business activities are being restored in the port city, adding that the government was taking steps to protect the life and propriety of the people.
The statement claimed that the people of Gwadar have rejected the anti-development stance of the elements who wanted to sabotage the government’s efforts for the development of Gwadar with the help of China.
No sit-in or protest was reported in Gwadar and other areas, including two coastal towns of Pansi and Ormara, as the Balochistan government had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the district for one month, banning all kinds of processions, protest rallies, sit-ins and gathering of more than five persons.
There were reports about the arrest of Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, the chief of Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) who was leading the protests, but officials denied such reports.
The protesters were demanding basic rights like water, electricity and jobs. Internet and other communication services could not be restored in Gwadar despite the passage of five days. Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami took out a rally in Quetta in protest against the arrests, police baton charges and use of tear gas against the workers and supporters of Haq Do Tehreek in Gwadar.
The protesters gathered at Meezan Chowk after Friday prayers and marched on different roads. They carried placards inscribed with slogans against the government and the Gwadar administration.
The provincial leaders of the party strongly criticised the government and demanded the release of all arrested protesters.
The JI also took out protest rallies in Khuzdar and Dera Murad Jamali, according to Dawn.
Gwadar is pivotal to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it is the end point of the controversial project over which India has objected to China as it is being laid through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
CPEC connects Gwadar located on the Arabian sea coast close to Iran with China's Xinjiang province. The project, which is being laid through Karakoram highway, provides China access to the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan has handed over Gwadar port development to China, sparking concerns that it could in the long run become a Chinese naval base.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.