From Scratch to Modern Gwadar

(Zubair Ameer, Islamabad)

Cargo container at Gwadar Port

Yesterday’s ruin can become tomorrow’s paradise, with its immense capacity Gwadar now boasts to be a major trade hub of the future, with its relatively quiet history, changing rules and opportunity recognition Gwadar now predicts to have a lot of noise of growth, trade and economic improvement. Those quiet beaches are soon to have honks of long vehicles, sirens of giant trade ships and dealing of billions. Offering its immense scope whole of Pakistan is going to feel the wave of it, there is a predicted increase in economic production and development in the region.

Gwadar remained under Omani rule for 174 years and finally after negotiation of 4 years became the part of Pakistan on 7th September 1958. A survey was conducted in 1954 by United States Geological Survey (USGS) which identified this hammerhead shaped peninsula of Gwadar as a natural and well suitable site for a new deep sea port. Before Gwadar was annexed with Pakistan, it was a small underdeveloped village with few fishermen living there. In 1990s Gwadar was proposed as the future port city but due to lack of funds development was not carried out. Gwadar port had two phases: Construction on Phase 1 project was began in 2002 after the agreement for its construction was signed during the state visit of Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in 2001. After completion of Phase 1 in 2007, the first commercial cargo container to waterfront at the port was the "Pos Glory," with 70,000 Metric Tonnes of Wheat on 15 March 2008.

The construction for second phase was started in 2007 under CPEC which changed the whole course of history. Today China has invested huge amount of money in Gwadar which will make Gwadar one of the most developed and planned city of Pakistan. China has offered assistance for the development of one of the biggest Dam of Pakistan, Mirani dam and many other small dams for the storage of water. Many housing societies have been started which will provide cheap but the luxury lifestyle to the people of Gwadar. Gwadar has great strategic importance because of the sea which is further to increase because of the $11 billion investment by China only for the infrastructure of the city. There are many societies working in Gwadar but currently Sanghar and New Town are the most developed. Naval Anchorage near Zero Point is one of the safest places for investment in Gwadar today. Other societies will soon come up once the port is complete. This will make Gwadar a new Dubai, which will offer superfluity lifestyle and careers to the people.

Gwadar will provide easy and feasible access to Central Asian Republics (CARs), Afghanistan, China, Iran and Persian Gulf. Afghanistan is a landlocked state and thus Gwadar provides the shortest possible access for Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean and is most cost effective. Persian Gulf countries are the pivot of oil exports, especially Oman. Oman will trade with CARs and China and thus this project is to benefit Oman most. OBOR [one belt one road], a multibillion dollar project that carries the scope of changing the course of history, with its massive and complex interlinked planning, it aims to change Asia into a well-connected village. The crown head of this project is residing in Gwadar, with its hammerhead shape, Gwadar port boasts on its natural capacity of becoming one of the best ports of the world. Historically seeing, states like Central Asian Republics have been rich in oil and gas resources but due to land locked status they were unable to satisfy/ provide the world with its resources. It was like having a cup of gold in hand but nothing to pour in it. Living in the frustration Gwadar comes out as a rescuer to these states so that they can trade with the whole world. Gwadar is not a tool of monopoly of any state but means of getting mutual benefits.

With its rising stature as the buzz increases in Gwadar, the future Gwadar city will be the hub for providing residential, commercial and urban services for the residents and visitors. It will lead Gwadar to a modern city with high real estate value. Because without a vibrant and modern urban life no city can achieve its full potential and Gwadar is not an exception.

Once fully operational, Gwadar Port will become an important source of regional connectivity. Not only will it provide economic opportunities to regional actors, but it will also benefit local populations in Pakistan that have been denied growth for decades.

Modi’s sense of urgency in concluding trade pacts with Iran and other Persian Gulf nations is apparently driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signing of $46 billion energy and infrastructure development agreements with Pakistan. India is investing $500 million in Chabahar to bring the importance of Gwadar down. India is busy completing the Chabahar project as soon as possible. India wants Afghanistan to carry out trade from Iran but not Gwadar but it seems like India has completely failed in achieving her desired target. Thus this development in Chabahar by India will definitely never destroy the importance of Gwadar.

From a sanctioned state due to nuclearization to a war torn state suffering from heinous attacks every now and then, now Pakistan finally after stabilizing itself [to an extent] is now trying to get on the tracks of economic growth. Now it is the time when noise of people demanding to build dams and do other constructive works has super ceded the noise of terror attacks and military operations. Among those voices there is a prominent voice of development, economic growth and development. That is coming from Gwadar, carrying its immense productivity. Gwadar can become one of the biggest bailouts for Pakistan to escape economic turmoil and weakening. The game changer CPEC is playing a vital role in it. Although there are continuous security threats from terrorists yet a special force by Pakistan army has been made to deal with any evil agenda against CPEC. Gwadar will play a key role for the boosting of Pakistan’s economy.

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