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Veteran Baloch leader Mir Yousuf Masti Khan arrested for making 'anti-state' speech in Pakistan's Gwadar

Police produced Mir Yousuf Masti Khan before a sessions court to take his physical remand to keep him in custody.

Published: 10th December 2021 05:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2021 05:58 PM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, Arrest

For representational purposes

By PTI

KARACHI: An 80-year-old Pakistani politician and Baloch nationalist has been arrested for allegedly making a ‘provocative and anti-state' speech at a protest sit-in staged by the people of Gwadar demanding civil, political and economic rights in the restive Balochistan province.

Mir Yousuf Masti Khan, President of the Baloch Muttahida Mahaz (BMM), was picked up by police on Thursday after he reached Gwadar to express solidarity with the protesters, who are demanding rights under the banner of ‘Give rights to Gwadar' launched by Balochistan general secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman.

The Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea has long been portrayed as the jewel in the USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) crown, but in the process, the city has become the very embodiment of a security state in the restive province.

The sit-in which has continued for the last 22 days is demanding an end to unnecessary security check posts and checking in Gwadar, a ban on foreign trawlers fishing and opening of border trade with Iran and Afghanistan to ensure livelihood of the people of Balochistan.

"They arrested him on Thursday night soon after he spoke at the sit-in and took him away from his hotel to the police station," Rehman said.

Police later produced Khan before a sessions court to take his physical remand to keep him in custody.

Rehman said the people at the sit-in wanted to lay siege to the police station against Khan's arrest, but the decision had been postponed on the appeal of the Gwadar deputy commissioner.

"We are making genuine demands, but we are declared rebels and traitors by the government," Rehman added.

The authorities have called in additional forces from other areas with a heavy contingent of police and other law-enforcement agencies present in the sit-in area, but they have taken no action against the participants of the protest.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned Khan's arrest.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the HRCP said: “Mr Khan has done nothing more than demanding of the state to give Gwadar residents civil, political and economic rights to which they are entitled to.

"To charge him under archaic and repressive colonial laws is undemocratic. He must be released immediately and unconditionally, especially given his poor health condition," it added.



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