The prices of property in Gwadar that had been depressed for quite sometime because of slow progress of development works in the city and at the port have fallen further following the death of Nawab Akber Khan Bugti, as concerns over the future of the projects mounted.

The killing of Bugti, the chief of Bugti tribe and one of the three major opponents of the present military government, has sparked fears of revolt by the Baloch, who had been demanding provincial autonomy and control over their resources. This has made the future of the projects planned in Gwadar even more uncertain, and those who had invested their money in property there are perturbed by the emerging situation in the largest province of the country by area.

A 600-square-yard plot in Singhar Society is now selling at Rs700,000 only. About one year ago, it could have fetched Rs2.4-2.5 million. It means it has shed no less than 70 per cent of its value. Similarly, a plot of one acre in New Town, which was selling at Rs10 million 12 months ago, can hardly attract Rs2 million, taking a deep plunge of 80 per cent.

If 55-57 per cent of this price fall was witnessed before the killing of Nawab Akber Bugti, the rest of the decline has been seen after the operation in which he died along with a number of his loyalists.

A major real estate dealer of the country told The News that no investor is going to Gwadar now because the situation is not improving. He said the government would have to improve the law and order situation if it wanted to attract investors towards Gwadar. In the current circumstances there is little attraction for anybody to go there and stake his money.

Besides the law and order situation the other bothersome thing is slow pace of progress on the part of the government in finalising the port operator. The government was to hand over the port to the operator by December 2005, but it is still to do so. Now the minister of ports and shipping has said the port operator would be decided in October.

Some optimistic real estate dealers believe the property situation would improve as soon as the port operator is decided and port operations are started. A broker suggested government should itself start operating the port if it cannot find a suitable operator from abroad.

One of them referred to the tenders recently invited by Port Implementation Authority and said it is proof that progress on the port continues. However, he said the government should also start work on international airport, which is one of the foremost requirements if the government wants to attract foreign investors.

Source: The News