Amnesty Int’l asks Baloch govt to restore net services, lift ban on gatherings in Gwadar

New Delhi : Amnesty International South Asia on Tuesday decried the reported internet shutdown in the port city of Gwadar, which came after an emergency law was reportedly imposed as protests arose over illegal fishing in the region, media reports said.

“Such disruptions are neither necessary nor proportionate, and inhibits the ability of the people of Gwadar to communicate, access information, seek safety and work,” the organisation stated in a series of tweets, Express Tribune reported.

Amnesty International further said that the imposition of Section 144 in “the name of public security should not become a pretext for more human rights violations – especially if they prevent people from peacefully protesting”.

It expressed concern that both the reported internet ban and emergency law would serve as a springboard for further crackdown on people’s “fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, right to personal security and freedom from arbitrary detention”, Express Tribune reported.

The organisation called upon authorities in Balochistan to “immediately restore internet services and lift the ban on public gatherings”.

The statement comes shortly after days of protests and clashes, normalcy returned to the port city of Gwadar on Monday, as the port restarted operations, shopkeepers reopened their shops in the main bazaar and the authorities restored mobile phone service.

The Gwadar Rights Movement (GRM) activists have been protesting against the provincial government for more than two months over illegal fishing in the sea and unnecessary check posts. As a result, baton-wielding policemen had been deployed in various parts of the city to maintain order, Express Tribune reported.

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