The protest of Gwadar fisherman against the construction of the East-Bay Expressway has entered day tweleve and that is a cause of concern. The idea behind the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was never to affect the local economy. However, the Expressway not only blocks the routes leading towards the Arabian Sea but also affects the livelihood of the fishermen as a result. A key lesson here is that no project can be successful if people of the area are not on board with it. Either you provide them an alternative means of income or you adjust the plan according to their interests as well.

At this point, the protest is not only impacting their own income but also creating problems for the economy. The fish that were caught were a source of income as well as the product which was exported to Kuwait, Dubai, and Riyadh, among other countries. Since the market did not have any fish, none was exported to these countries as well. This resulted in a loss of millions which the exporters and factory owners had to incur. The impact on economy alone should prompt the authorities to find a solution which caters to not just the fishermen but also ensures the sustenance of export in the region.

The seriousness of the issue has also prompted several political party workers to join the protest. Party members of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and National Party (NP) joined the protest in favour of the fishermen. There is already a resentment in the provincial government against the developmental projects undertaken for Balochistan as a result of CPEC. With the eruption of such issues, it is very likely that the lawmakers along with the residents can feel alienated by the system. CPEC was meant to be a source that would bridge the gap between the federal government and the province of Balochistan. This opportunity should not be forgone.

Integration and cohension amongst the provinces can be attained through viable developmental vision. For people to welcome the plans of the federal government, it is important to listen to their concerns and develop policies around them. Balochistan is already a delicate zone. Enforcement of projects and plans will further aggaravate the differences, and with a project as huge as CPEC, Pakistan cannot afford to risk the development of animosity among the people.