GWADAR, “The Future of Pakistan”, is a Balochi term which translated means “Door of Wind”. However, looking into the future, it can be referred to as the “Door of Prosperous Wind”.
Gwadar has geo-strategic significance due to many reasons. It is on the conduit of three most commercially important regions of the world. The oil rich Middle East, Central Asia bestowed with natural resources and South Asia having the potential for growth, for this century. The city’s strategic, warm-water, deep-sea Gwadar Port was completed in 2007.The port is 14 metres (46 feet) deep and handles the largest cargo ships to Pakistan. The city is emerging as a trade hub and a transit for Chinese oil and timber imports and transshipments.
It is my belief that via Gwadar we can take Pakistan to far greater heights, provided we adequately utilize its potential, developing it in a planned way and attract potential Pakistani and foreigner investors. Pakistan has neither a dearth of human resources nor lack of geo-economic, geo-political or, geo-strategic potential. Where, perhaps, we lack is in the realm of will and the sincerity of purpose to actualize our stated goals. Therefore, to achieve our high-priority national aims and objectives, we shall need to evolve a strategy that would essentially entail hiring, harmonizing and fruitfully utilizing the services and expertise of both national and international experts.
Gwadar has enormous potential from various angles and dimensions, whether it is business, trade, manufacturing, storage or any kind of business activity.In comparison to other Gulf ports, especially Dubai, gives more facilities and will handle more cargo and trade because Gwadar is a deep sea port. It is also located at the mouth of the Gulf and is a gateway to both Central Asian Republic(CARs) and Western China. For Dubai, ships have to wait for days for the route clearance and only a few ships can cross at a time. As far as the Iranian Ports are concerned, they will not be able to attract and generate business while the Iranian state remains hostile to major western powers. Moreover, these ports are in creeks and require massive maintenance cost, which from a business point of view, is not so attractive.
The land locked Central Asian States are dependent on Gwadar. Similarly Western China and North Western India shall have a short route to the world market through Gwadar.Presently Transit Trade facilities are provided to Afghanistan from Karachi and the same can be extended to CARs from Gwadar. The location of Gwadar Deep Sea Port is such that the whole world business converges and diverges at this place. In comparison, Dubai lacks all this.The whole region, can take advantage of trans-shipment facility. The transit cargo can easily be undertaken from Gwadar and transported to any part of the world in a short span of time, in comparison to other ports. Imagine a ship carrying 5,000 – 8,000 containers, the enormity of warehousing, transportation and manpower required to handle all this.
Being a deep sea port and with facilities for transportation available, the industry of any kind is feasible, both from raw material as well as finished material point of view. The mineral resources of Central Asia have no shorter route to get transported and to reach world markets, than Gwadar.
Gwadar Port should be termed as an energy port. The gas and oil deposits of CARs will find their new storage destination at Gwadar, because of its natural flow direction. Even Iran can benefit from Gwadar by securing an opening to the world market for gas and oil. The Pacific countries, India and other countries short of energy can easily be supplied Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Gwadar.
Gwadar deep port would promote massive economic activity in the region which would not only benefit local people but also cast positive impact on overall economy of the province and the country. Gwadar would help bring Baluchistan’s coastal areas into socio-economic mainstream and serve as a catalyst for fast track development of the province.The establishment of special economic zones, free trade zone, and Export Processing Zone (EPZ) would attract foreign investment creating innumerable job opportunities for local youth which would directly raise the living standard of their families.
Recently the fishery industry is one of the most important economic activities in Gwadar district.About one fourth of the total catch of different varieties in Pakistan is produced in Gwadar.On an annual basis there is potential for an additional catch of at least 70,000 tonnes. Fish processing at Gwadar is providing employment to many of the local educated and uneducated unemployed youth. In case fish farming and shrimp farming are encouraged, it can double the quantity, besides improving the quality.
Gwadar has an immense potential for attracting both domestic and international tourist with a unique landscape. The mud hillock, the God gifted landscape looks as if carved by an artist. The two hammer heads of Gwadar and Ormara are matchless. The turquoise sea water with golden sand beaches facing south, is unparalleled. The beaches can be used throughout the year.
Another sector that has a massive potential is the construction industry. Presently Gwadar has no building or accommodation to accommodate the human influx and store the bulk supplies of any kind. The construction industry has so much potential that one has to start from the making of bricks, till the construction of high rises, for which there is no limit.