Quetta: A long march against the closure of a key border crossing between Pakistan and Iran is pressing on towards Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. Led by a coalition of traders, civil society representatives, and political activists, the protest, which began in Mashkel, remains steadfast in its demand for the reopening of the vital passage, Dawn reported.

Mir Jiand Khan Reki, a prominent local traders' leader spearheading the march, said, "Our protest march will persist until the border point with Iran is reinstated, as it sustains our families' livelihoods." Despite enduring foot injuries along the arduous journey, Reki emphasized the unwavering determination of the participants, stating, "Some of our marchers' feet are wounded from walking, yet they refuse to abandon the march, saying it's a matter of their survival."

As the march progresses, it garners support from communities along the route. "People are welcoming the participants wherever we reach, showing their support for our cause," remarked Reki.

The genesis of the protest traces back to a 33-day sit-in in Nashkel, precipitated by the border closure. Expressing disappointment in the government's lack of response, Reki lamented, "Government officials concerned have yet to take notice of our protest." The repercussions of the closure reverberate across Mashkel and its environs, exacerbating shortages of food and essential supplies.

The marchers plan to escalate their demonstration upon reaching Quetta. "We will stage a protest in front of the Balochistan Assembly once we reach Quetta," said Reki.

Locals from the Mashkel area of Rakhshan in hundreds (near the Pakistan-Iran border) on Saturday launched a long march towards Quetta, Balochistan over the the closure of the Pak-Iran Maza Sar border crossing, calling it an essential element for their survival, a report by Dawn stated.

The long march on Sunday reached the Yakmach area of Chagai district who were welcomed by the locals. The protesters, including traders, had been staging a sit-in for the last one month in the border town Mashkel demanding the opening of Pak-Iran Maza Sar border crossing used by local people for buying food items and other essential commodities.

The Baloch Yakjeheti Committee (BYC), a Baloch rights organisation also showed their solidarity towards the the same. The protestors will also launch a sit-in at the provincial assembly after reaching Quetta, read a statement by the BYC.

The State has set its mission to cripple the Baloch nation in every possible way, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, false allegations, border closures, and punishing, harassing, and killing people at the border. Economic suppression is also part of this systematic genocide.

The statement mentioned that, the closure of the Maza Sar crossing point since the Covid pandemic has led to severe shortages and malnutrition in the region. The sit-in's primary demands include the reopening of the Sir crossing point and the restoration of Maza Sar and Zero Point, vital for the local economy.

The people of Mashkel are in dire need of assistance under the guise of the borderline. They have been protesting against the recent food shortages for a month, but they were not heard by any government agency. The protesters have resolved to march from Mashkel to Quetta and demand immediate action from the Balochistan Assembly, the BYC statement stated.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed