May 28, 2023

By Ahmed Saeed


Haq Do Gwadar (HDG) Movement chief and the Secretary-General of Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Balochistan, Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman Baloch is out of prison, but his resolve remains undeterred. If anything his voice has even more determination today than before.

Gwadar’s woes have worsened, he says, due to the negligence of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government since coming into power in April 2022.

In an exclusive interview with, Rehman, who had spent four months in prison, praised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government, stating that “there has been an increase in extortion and illegal trawling in the sea since the Shahbaz government came into power. Our demands were being fulfilled during PTI’s tenure, but now everything has been reversed and our difficulties have increased manifold.”

Rehman was arrested in January 2023 on charges of murder and disturbing public peace. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court (SC) on May 18, 2023.

Rehman spearheaded the HDG Movement in 2021, which has since gained massive support from locals, especially women. He has held a series of protests on Gwadar’s problems, including the demand for clean potable water, a reduction in security check posts, and an end to illegal trawling.

The movement had turned into an electoral force and swept Gwadar’s local body elections held in May 2022, clinching 28 out of 34 seats of Gwadar city’s municipal committee. It also performed well in the adjoining Pasni and Ormara tehsils where it secured most of the seats.

After winning the polls, Rehman intensified protests and demanded the provincial government to take concrete steps for redress of their complaints. In November 2022, the movement staged a sit-in protest which was approached for negotiations by a ministerial committee on behalf of the Balochistan Government. After talks broke down, the protest site and its camps were dismantled and dozens of workers arrested in a police crackdown.

In January 2023, Rehman was booked in 17 cases under charges of disturbing law and order, obstructing public servants in the discharge of their duties, and murdering a police officer. He was sent to jail on judicial remand.

“All the cases were bogus and false,” he says.

“They accused me of obstructing officials… how could I possibly do that? Did I stop any police official from arresting a thief?”

Commenting on the murder charge, he says that it was a fake case as he not in Gwadar when the policeman was killed.

“The government also did not carry out a post-mortem of the deceased official to ascertain how and from which direction the bullet hit him. They just wanted to frame me for murder and keep me behind bars for a long time. To accomplish this, they sacrificed a policeman and tried to involve me in the case,” Rehman explains.

The Balochistan High Court denied his bail application while his appeal remained pending in the SC for many weeks without a hearing.

Talking about his experience with the criminal justice system, the HDG Movement chief says that the entire system is archaic.

“From the sessions courts to the apex court, they are just for the rich and influential. Only they can get justice. I found that the judges were powerless and under pressure. I heard them even saying that the one should talk to powers that be.”

Rehman says that the police were under pressure from the provincial government to give him absolutely no relief in any case or while incarcerated. He tells that his jailmates were convicted in narcotics cases, and that in order to break him the jail authorities denied his family visitation rights.

The HDG Movement chief believes that the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) was behind his arrest as the movement has posed a threat to the party’s politics in Gwadar and adjascent areas.

“The BNP-M is like the PTI of Balochistan (before the PTI’s ouster), and is also pampered by the powers that be the same way,” he says.

Rehamn provides that their elected local representatives took their oaths just a few weeks ago, and vowed that he will not shy away from taking responsibility for the matters that fall within the ambit of the local government: “If the local body cannot perform as per the expectations of the people, I will be answerable to them.”

Taking a jibe at PTI politicians who have been jumping ship following a crackdown on the party after May 9, Rehman says

“there is a difference between me and the PTI leaders. They latter were released after their software was updated, but I walked free because I updated the software of those who arrested me.”


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