Gwadar: A Gateway

Gwadar means “Air Passage or Gateway” in the local language, it is the most important city under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is natural deep sea-port, with its strategic location. It situated only 120 KM from the Iranian border, and 170 KM from Chahbahar port in Iran, opposite of Oman in the Arabian Sea. It is just at the entrance of Straight of Hurmuz. One of the busiest trade route – Oil and Gas rich Middle-East exporting Energy to rest of world and importing almost everything from the rest of the world through this route. Although the history of Gwadar goes back to the Bronze Age, its importance was highlighted after the launch of CPEC.

Several projects were initiated under CPEC in 2015 but some of the high significance are on top priority and in execution at the fast pace. Deep sea-port is the mega project and pivotal for CPEC, which partially completed and operational already. However, develop to full capacity, it will take some time while keeping it operational simultaneously. Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, which is 19 km, connecting Gwadar Port to Mehran Coastal Highway 60%. Gwadar Free Zone is also completed almost half and work is in satisfactory progress. Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan is at the final stage of its completion. Expansion of Multi-purpose Terminal including Breakwater and Dredging is under feasibility stage. China-Pakistan Faqeer Primary School Project is completed already and in the operational stage. Few projects by Chinese donation are also in various stage, which includes, Hospital, Vocational School, Fresh Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment, etc.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, has visited Gwadar and a big momentum of developments of Gwadar is visible. He has attended the Ground Breaking Ceremony of Gwadar New International Airport. The Airport is a gift from the Chinese Government and will be constructed by the Chinese company within 5 years. It will be state of the art International airport and one of the most modern and largest airports in this whole region. Up to Airbus 380 will be able to land in this airport. It will facilitate to connect the whole world to Gwadar. It is really a major breakthrough for the development Gwadar into a major city of the world in the future.

PM Imran Khan also announced to connect Gwadar with Quetta the capital of Baluchistan province by road and by railway. This will be a major achievement in improving the connectivity of Gwadar with the other parts of the country. Quetta-Zoob Motorway is also initiated as a big step toward long-demanded completion of Western Route.

PM has also addressed the issues of local fishermen for their livelihood and ensured them for health facilities. He promised that any development in Gwadar will be people-focused and local residents will get priority.

He also announced to connect the city with the national grid to ensure a sufficient supply of electricity.

There was a two-day International Expo at Gwadar on 28-29 March 2019, which was attended by more than a hundred companies from China and Pakistan. This year the expo was focused on Henan Province and most of the Chinese companies participated were from Henan. It is learned that every year, such expo will be focused on one of the provinces in China. However, there were few companies from other provinces too. It covers a wide range of products from Shipbuilding, construction machinery to auto-parts and packaging material, etc. There were also Pakistan companies, mostly of real-estate, and land development, but also few on sea-food and services sector.

This expo has provided an excellent platform for Pakistani and Chinese entrepreneurs to understand each other and develop business relations. I am pretty sure, some economic activities have been generated and more are in pipeline. This was the 2nd annual expo and it has attracted more people than the 1st expo held in last year. It is expected that the 3rd expo planned to be held in March 2020 will gain more momentum.

At this occasion, “Gwadar Pro” was launched, which is under “China Economic Daily”. It is aimed to provide updated media coverage of Gwadar.

It is obviously visible that Gwadar Dream is going to be realized at a fast pace. The fruits of which will be enjoyed by the people of Pakistan, people of region and especially the people of Gwadar. Gwadar will be hub of commercial activities and will change the global trade routes and trends. It will guarantee the prosperity of central Asia, South Asia, Eurasia, Middle-east and Africa. Gwadar is a message of “Peace, Harmony, Stability, Development and Prosperity”

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.