Participants of the Mashkail long march established a camp outside the Quetta Press Club: Photo Muhammad Ismail

Syed Ali Shah: 

QUETTA: A long march that began in Mashkail, a small town on Pakistan’s border with Iran, has arrived in Quetta. The protesters are demanding the reopening of the Mazah Sar Crossing Point with Iran and the issuance of special permits for local residents living near the border.

Led by former National Assembly member Mir Ehsanullah Reki and activist Mujeeb ur Rehman Muhammad Hassani, the demonstrators have set up a camp outside the Quetta Press Club. Their presence in Quetta aims to draw attention to the challenges faced by border communities.

On Sunday, Balochistan ministers Mir Shoaib Nowsherwani and Mir Saleem Khoso engaged in negotiations with the protesters. The ministers assured the demonstrators that their concerns would be addressed and promised to escalate issues related to the federal government to Islamabad.

“We understand the critical importance of the Mazah Sar Crossing Point for the local economy and the livelihoods of border residents,” said Mir Shoaib Nowsherwani. “We are committed to resolving these issues and will work diligently with the federal authorities to find a solution.”

The protesters emphasized that the closure of the crossing point has severely impacted trade and daily life for those living in Mashkail and surrounding areas. They argue that reopening the crossing and providing special permits are essential steps to alleviate the economic hardships faced by the local population.

The long march and subsequent camp in Quetta highlight the persistent issues in border regions and the urgent need for governmental intervention to restore vital crossings and support local communities. The protesters remain steadfast in their demands, hoping for swift action from both provincial and federal authorities.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.