Gwadar has become the centre for protests by workers since the arrival of the Chinese CPEC projects in the area. Countless protests have happened in Gwadar for many years.
Gwadar houses CPEC’s major seaport that connects with China through major rail and roads throughout Pakistan. Despite significant infrastructure projects in the area, locals are deprived of their fundamental rights.
The recent wave of protests is significant that started in the winter of 2021/2022 that engulfed the whole Markran division, including the Gwadar area. The protest started initially against the local population’s non-availability of electricity and water supply. Later on, these protests expanded and expressed anger against imperialist expansions in the area.
Women played an essential role in these protests. They rejected the traditional nationalist parties and self-organised their struggle.
The demands of these protests were not only linked to economics but also demanded the end of national exploitation and deprivation.
Initially started as small protests, but now large demonstrations are taking place. The recent one took place for successive 32 days. It was a heroic struggle that forced the provincial government and administration to accept their demands.
As a result of this struggle, issues of the fishing community came into the limelight as the majority of the people are linked to this trade.
In the rather conservative society of Pakistan, especially in the Baluchistan province, the entrance of women into the political area is highly courageous. The provincial government and police used all their tactics to stop people from joining the protests organised by Women. They cracked down on coaches from various areas going to Gawader to join the protest. Despite of repressive measures by the state, women managed to mobilise 25,000 people for the protest.
This splendid struggle is the inspiration for workers, especially women, for the country and region.