KARACHI, Feb 23, 2022- Protesting fishermen have blockaded Pakistan’s busiest port Karachi, assembling trawlers across the main channel to halt all shipping in and out, officials said on Wednesday.
Foreign media also reported that the government on Wednesday said it was negotiating with the protesters.
“I hope talks to resolve the issue will resume on Wednesday afternoon,” Mahmood Maulvi, adviser to the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Maritime Affairs, told a foreign news agnecy.
An earlier round of talks failed on Tuesday, he said.
The protesters are fishermen from Sindh province who oppose restrictions on them entering the waters off neighboring Balochistan province.
Port Qasim, which handles most container traffic and lies to the east of Karachi, was functioning normally.
“If this continues there are fears that some ships might return to the high seas,” Muhammad Idress, president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said in a statement.
Fishermen led large protests in the Balochistan port city of Gwadar in December, to demand authorities take action against trawling by Chinese fishing trawlers, and vessels from Sindh.
The fisheries department, coast guard and Maritime Security Agency are now carrying out patrols to stop trawlers from Sindh entering Balochistan waters.
Authorities in Balochistan detained around half a dozen fishing trawlers from Sindh last week, Tariq-ur-Rehman, director general of Balochistan fisheries department said.
Chinese fishing vessels have also been banned from entering Balochistan’s waters, Rehman added.