Demonstrators take part in a protest to demand justice for the murder of Isabel Cabanillas, an activist for women's rights whose body was found on January 18, 2020, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Residents of Mashkel in Washuk district have continued their protests against the prolonged closure of the Pak-Iran border and alleged harassment by Pakistani security forces.

The protesters arrived in Quetta on Friday after a long march from Mashkel and staged a sit-in to demand trade permissions and passage for local people at the border.

Spokesperson for Mashkel Civil Society said that the closure of the Pak-Iran border at Mashkel, combined with severe weather and blocked routes due to heavy rains and floods, has created a dire situation.

Frustrated by the ongoing challenges, residents began a peaceful protest on April 22, establishing a protest camp in Mashkel city and initiating a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike. Despite these actions, their grievances were not addressed.

In an effort to draw attention from higher authorities, the protesters embarked on a 700-kilometer march from Mashkel to Quetta on foot. They endured extreme heat and difficult desert terrains, arriving in Quetta on Friday evening.

The march was peaceful, and their demands, described by Mashkel Civil Society as legitimate, were conveyed to the provincial government through the media. They appealed for urgent attention to the issues faced by the people of Mashkel.

The protesters expressed their determination to continue their sit-in until their demands are met. They warned that if their legitimate demands are not addressed, they will escalate their protest by setting up a hunger strike camp in the Red Zone. They stated that any adverse incident resulting from the protest would be the responsibility of the provincial government.

Mashkel Civil Society called for the immediate reopening of the MazhaSar Crossing Point to facilitate the delivery of food items from Iran and ease the movement of families living on both sides of the border. They also demanded the resumption of business activities by reopening the Zero Point, which has been closed for five years.

Additionally, they urged the cancellation of the Sunday holiday at the legal crossing gate and called for an expedited pace of construction work on the Nokundi to Mashkel road, noting that the project has been progressing slowly.

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