Gwadar City is the Dream Project of Pakistan
Key Note on Gwadar Progress and Development:
Gwadar project has a very significant role not only for Pakistan but also for the whole region. Pakistan’s unique geography and geo political factors in the region have made it one of kind opportunity for Pakistan. Solid commitments by Chinese and Pakistani government with concrete steps on ground, growing interest by Gulf countries and Investors around the globe are indicators of the bright future of Gwadar.
Investment in any Project in E.P.Zone Gwadar is an investment with a 20 years Tax Holiday facilities and trustworthy, reputed company committed to excellence and confidence and in a location which is already focus of the world.
Which are the countries directly benefited by Gwadar?
Because of unique geography, Gwadar virtually benefits all countries in the region. In today’s increasingly interdependent world it would not be wrong that indirectly it benefits the whole world. However, some of the important countries directly benefited by Gwadar beside Pakistan and China are as following:
a. Tajikistan. A land locked country that will get access to international waters for its Oil and Gas exports and other imports.
b. Uzbekistan. Again a land locked country, greatly benefited by Gwadar.
c. Turkmenistan. Same as above.
d. Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been historically dependent upon Pakistan for its sea routes. Present reconstruction efforts need more and more materials, but the existing port facilities already under pressures from Pakistan’s needs find it difficult to manage. Besides, through Gwadar the access to international waters would be further reduced to great advantage of Afghan reconstruction.
What is Chinese Interest in Gwadar?
China has a great strategic interest in Gwadar. Following are the important ones:-
a. China is heavily dependent upon the oil from the gulf, at present this oil passes via a very long route, through the straight of Malacca under US influence. After this oil has reached the Shanghai or the Chinese East Cost, it has to be transported thousands of miles in land to West of China. By using Gwadar port and than Karakoram Highway (KKH) its much safer, cheaper and shorter route to west of china.
b. Middle East is very important region in the world because of its Oil Reserves and large markets. China has a natural dependence on this but does not have means to influence it. Government of Pakistan has already committed to providing a Navel Base to China in Gwadar. This will not only help secure the Gwadar but also take the Pakistan China Friendship to new heights.
c. Chinese Goods will find an easier, shorter and secure route to Middle East increasing profitability and increasing trade.
d. China will greatly benefit from the industrial zone by setting up industries close to the markets.
It is important to understand the Chinese commitments which are indicative of importance that china attaches to Gwadar. China has very strongly committed to Gwadar project, because of her interests. Following are the major inputs from the China:-
a. China has been instrumental in design of the project.
b. China is providing approximately 80% of the cost of Port in shape of grants and soft loans.
c. Over 500 Chinese workers have worked on the project on 24 hour basis to complete the port setup. There are still a large number of Chinese workers and engineers working on the project.
d. China has further committed to provide money and resources as and when needed.
e. China is setting up a Dry Port at the Pak China border to take advantage of shorter route to sea through Gwadar.
f. China has paid US$ 360 million to Pakistan for expansion and up gradation to all weather traficability of Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China. The contract has been awarded to Frontier Works Organization, who has also started the project.
g. Feasibility and engineering studies to connect China with Gwadar through pipeline and railway track has already begun. This railway track also has the significance of being an engineering marvel of the world.
What is International Significance of Gwadar?
Another angle to look at Gwadar is its significance and effect to rest of the world. Following are the major developments in this regard.
a. India is threatened by Gwadar as this new port and associated developments will help increase the influence and significance of Pakistan. This development also brings Pakistan and China more close. A stronger Pakistan with higher stature in the international world is not welcome to India. India is also weary of increased dependence of CAR’s, Afghanistan and China on Pakistan, with obvious benefits to Pakistan. Pakistan will become an important player in the region through Gwadar and India is troubled by the very thought.
b. This is the best and most advanced port in the whole region, it is therefore getting heat from many corners. In reality this is going to be to the benefit of every one. Shorter and more economical route to CAR’s and Afghanistan is especially going to be beneficial to India who eagerly looks to increasing trade with them.
c. Turkmenistan is a country blessed with natural gas and oil. But being land locked, it can’t benefit from them. Trans Afghan Gas Pipeline (TAP) from Turkmenistan to Gwadar, the long dormant project that hopes to pump Turkmen natural gas to markets in south Asia is finally ready to step off the drawing board. This project is being developed by CENTGAS.
d. Kazakhstan is also a country with lot of Oil but no means to access the international market. A pipeline is also planned to transport this oil to Gwadar and than rest of the world.
e. Many more companies in the world from various countries would be setting up their businesses to take the advantage of State of the art world class port the best in the region, with cheap labor and close proximity to the huge Middle East market.
f. Due to good geography and unscathed sand beaches, tourism and recreation resorts have good potential and large multinational companies are taking up locations for the purpose.
g. Far from just an academic point of view, recent interest of various international companies to include Shell for setting up mega oil refinery in the area, and deep interest of UAE business groups in Gwadar are important landmarks in this light. UAE alone is committed to investing $30 Bn, with further understanding of $60 Bn more. They have plans to build Hotels Resorts and Recreation centers in Gwadar. Its not long when other Arab Countries, overloaded with high returns from the record oil prices also expose their plans in the area.
The Baluch Nationalism Threat Myth.
As mentioned before, a project of such huge international significance and advantage to Pakistan just could not go without its enemies playing a role to downplay this mega project and pessimists airing their voices. A strong prosperous and important Pakistan is a hope for all well wishers and Muslims alike, and exactly this is what is dreaded by those who don’t want a Muslim country so strong. They in order to undermine Pakistan are creating, supporting and propagating disinformation about the so called Baluch Nationalism. Following are some of the facts to be considered in this regard.
a. Govt. of Pakistan has launched a development budget of Rs. 125 Bn for Baluchistan, other than Gwadar. This unprecedented commitment from government has spurred the development in province to new height.
b. There are total of 27 Districts in Baluchistan of which there is only one district where there is some trouble. No other district has any sign.
c. Even in this district there are 14 tribes and only one tribe has a problem. This tribe further has more than two factions of which only one has trouble.
d. This district is closer to Lahore than Gwadar. How can it affect Gwadar more than Lahore?
e. A Baluch in the area who once tended sheep and had hard time making two ends meet, is now driving a four wheel drive. Local feuds have stronger economic interests with the investors and are therefore quite opposed to any disturbance.
f. Most recently people of Gwadar rallied to demonstrate their support and gratitude to government of Pakistan for mega projects in Baluchistan. They also took an opportunity to air their disapproval of the miscreants playing in Indian hands. Wide coverage of this in local press and large turnout speak volumes about this.
g. Common people in Baluchistan are greatly benefited by this project, providing them with new employment and business opportunities.
h. A military cantonment is being set up in Gwadar to safeguard countries interests. A Battalion of Pakistan Army has already been stationed with more troops in follow up.
Major Developments at Gwadar
Govt. has pledged Rs 63 Bn to connect Gwadar with the national Railway Network through 963KM’s track, this is the biggest ever project for Railway. A track is also being worked on from Gwadar through Turbat, Panjgore and Rato Dero to link up CAR’s.
715 KM’s Makran Coastal Highway linking Gwadar with Karachi, has been completed.
The new International Airport has received a grant of US$75 millions from Oman and Rs 563.35 million from Pakistan government. The work is to start shortly as soon as the port starts its operations.
Prime minister has allocated Rs. 21 Billions to speedup the development.
President has announced the establishment of an Oil Refinery, British Petroleum and Shell along with others have expressed their interests in the project. The Refinery is to be constructed on 2500 Acres, and would help Gwadar become the hub of Oil for Pakistan, as said by the prime minister.
The work on fourteen major Roads inside Gwadar is in full swing i.e. Baluchistan Boulevard, Jinnah Avenue, and Costal Highway for onward linking with Afghanistan, Iran and CAR’s.
President in his recent visit to Quetta has announced following about Gwadar.
He has reiterated that Gwadar Port be ready by the end of the year.
He has instructed to complete Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab-Basima road within three years to connect Gwadar port with RCD highway and Indus highway. This would connect Gwadar with Iran and Turkey besides further improving the communications to and from Gwadar.
World Bank has offered loans for construction of railway links with Gwadar, Pakistan Govt. is considering the offer.
New Expression of Interest to manage Gwadar Port Operations from three international port operators is a very encouraging sign, it will help government to make best of the opportunity.