Pakistan seizes five Chinese trawlers in Gwadar port
The ‘iron brothers’ China and Pakistan appear to be at daggers drawn after the seizure of five Chinese trawlers near the port of Gwadar, a key part of the CPEC project.
“The Maritime Safety Agency announced Monday evening that it had seized five Chinese fishing boats containing fish,” a senior official from the Balochistan fisheries department told BBC Urdu.
Local fishermen in Gwadar posted a video of Chinese trawlers, after which it went viral on social media. According to the president of the Gwadar Fishermen’s Union in Khudaidad, Chinese trawlers were seen in the Astala region in Pasni by local fishermen.
A few days ago, Chinese trawlers were spied on in the port of Gwadar, in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The fleet of factory ships contained food processing units to process and package fish intended for sale on international markets, reported WION.
Pakistan claimed that Chinese trawlers entered the port city of Gwadar without prior authorization and that “anyone entering Pakistani territorial waters without authorization would be arrested,” said Ali Haider Zaidi, Pakistani Minister of Navigation, as quoted by BBC Urdu.
The case is currently under investigation. In his tweet of June 11, Zaidi wrote: âDeep sea trawling is prohibited in Pakistani waters. PMSA is closely monitoring the trawler and vessels spotted near Gwadar. I ordered a survey. Strong measures will be taken. Protecting our local fishermen is our top priority.
In its assurances to local fishermen, Pakistan said it did not allow any Chinese or foreign trawlers in its territorial waters, adding anyway: âWhen they came to the waters of Balochistan, they only came here. ‘after someone gave them permission. “
Meanwhile, China claimed that due to bad weather conditions, Chinese trawlers were forced to take refuge in the waters of Balochistan.
Local fishermen perceive the increase in Chinese activities in Gwadar as “a deterrent” to their livelihoods, as the largest fishing village provides jobs for the majority of the population.
âIf they destroy our livelihood, it will be a big abuse for us,â Khudai Dad said.
Since the movement of Chinese trawlers in the port of Gwadar, the oldest fishing village in Balochistan has experienced a slump in the amount of the catch.
As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the port of Gwadar is important to China as it provides Beijing with a strategic access point to the Indian Ocean.
The port is located just 400 km from the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which carries 40 percent of oil imported from China Gulf countries.
The CPEC is the most ambitious project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. It connects the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to the Chinese region of Xinjiang. The project was proposed with the intention of expanding Chinese influence across Central and South Asia.
The Chinese mission in Gwadar angered residents of the dusty fishing town. The inhabitants fear the exploitation of the city’s natural resources by China, thus rebelling against several development projects.
China has started fencing the port city to protect the CPEC project from attacks by Baloch insurgents, media reports said.
Written by Kanika Sachdeva