ARFA KARIM PRIDE OF PAKISTAN

Saturday, January 22, 2011

GWADAR, PAKISTAN,FUTURE OF SOUTH ASIA












































GWADAR

Gwadar (Urdu: گوادر) is a developing port city in Balochistan, Pakistan, which is situated on the southwestern coast of Pakistan on the Arabian Sea with a population of approximately 50,000.

Gwadar is strategically located between three increasingly important regions: the oil-rich Middle, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-laden region of Central Asia. Gwadar is the location of the Gwadar Port, a warm-water, deep sea port.

The Gwadar Port was built on a turnkey basis by China. It was inaugurated in the spring of 2007 by then Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. Gwadar Port is now being expanded into a deep sea port and naval base with Chinese technical and financial assistance. Gwadar Port became operational in 2008 with the first ship to dock bringing 52,000 tonnes of wheat from Canada. Pakistan's Minister of Ports and Shipping, Sardar Nabil Ahmed Khan Gabol, officially inaugurated the port on 21 December 2008.

China has acknowledged that Gwadar’s strategic value is no less than that of theKarakoram Highway, which helped cement the China-Pakistan relationship. Beijing is also interested in turning it into an energy-transport hub by building an oil pipeline from Gwadar into China's Xinjiang region. The planned pipeline will carry crude oil sourced fromArab and African states. Such transport by pipeline will cut freight costs and also help insulate the Chinese imports from interdiction by hostile naval forces in case of any major war.

Commercially, it is hoped that the Gwadar Port would generate billions of dollars inrevenues and create at least two million jobs. In 2007, the government of Pakistan handed over port operations to PSA Singapore for 25 years, and gave it the status of a Tax Free Port for the following 40 years. The main investors in the project are the Pakistani Government and the People's Republic of China, making China's plan to be engaged in many places along oil and gas roads evident.

History

View of the Earth centred over Gwadar, Pakistan.

The Makran region surrounding Gwadar was occupied by an ancient Bronze Agepeople which settled in the few oases. It later became the Gedrosia region of theAchaemenid Persian empire. It is believed to have been conquered by the founder of the Persian empire, Cyrus the Great. The capital of the satrapy of Gedrosia was Pura, which is thought to have been located near the modern Bampûr, in Iranian Balochistan. During the homeward march of Alexander the Great, his admiral,Nearchus, led a fleet along the modern-day Makran coast and recorded that the area was dry, mountainous, and inhabited by the "Ichthyophagoi" (or "fish eaters"), an ancient Greek rendering of the ancient Persian phrase "Mahi khoran" (which has itself become the modern word "Makran"). After the collapse of Alexander's empire the area was ruled by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander’s generals. The region then came under "local rule" around about 303 BC.

The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium, until the Arab-Muslimarmy of Muhammad bin Qasim captured the town of Gwadar in 711 CE and over the intervening (and nearly equivalent) amount of time the area was contested by various powers, including the Mughals (from the east) and the Safavids (from the west). ThePortuguese captured, sacked and burnt Gwadar in 1581, and this was then followed by almost two centuries of local rule by the various Balochi tribes. The city was visited by Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis in 1550s and mentioned in his book Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557 CE. According to Seydi Ali Reis, the inhabitants of Gwadar were Baloch and their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar. In 1783, the Khan of Kalatgranted suzerainty over Gwadar to Taimur Sultan, the defeated ruler of Muscat. When the sultan subsequently retook Muscat, he was to continue his rule in Gwadar by appointing a wali (or "governor"). This wali was then ordered to subjugate the nearby coastal town of Chah Bahar (in modern-day Iran). The Gwadari fort was built during Omani rule, whilst telegraph lines were later extended into the town courtesy of the British.

Until 1958 Gwadar was part of Oman but was transferred to Pakistan on 8 September 1958. The Gwadar enclave was actually sold to Pakistan (effective 8 December 1958). It was integrated within the Balochistan (Pakistan) on 1 July 1977 and became a full sub-division of the Gwadar District.The money for the purchase was generated by way of taxation and donations. It was then made part of the Balochistan province. In 2002, the Gwadar Port project (of building a large, deep-sea port) was begun in the town. The government of Pakistan intends todevelop the entire area in order to reduce its reliance in shipping on the port of Karachi. In addition to expanding port facilities, the Project aims to build industrial complexes in the area and to connect the town via a modern highway to the rest of Pakistan. By the end of 2004 the first phase had been completed.

Administration

As well as being district headquarters, the town of Gwadar is the chief city of Gwadar Tehsil, the tehsil is administratively subdivided into five Union councils, three of which form Gwadar city, these are:

§ Central Gwadar

§ Gwadar Southern

§ Gwadar Northern

Climate

Gwadar City

Gwadar is at 0–300 meters above sea level, is dry arid hot. The oceanic influence keeps the temperature lower than that in the interior in summer and higher in winter. The mean temperature in the hottest month (June) remains between 31°C and 32°. The mean temperature in the coolest month (January) varies from 18°C to 19°C. The uniformity of temperature is a unique characteristic of the coastal region in Balochistan. Occasionally, winds moving down the Balochistan plateau bring brief cold spells, otherwise the winter is pleasant. In Gwadar, winter is shorter than summer. Although Gwadar is not a monsoon region it still receives light monsoon showers coming fromKarachi. But in winter, Western Disturbance can cause heavy Showers. Annual rainfall is only 100mm (3 inches). In June 2010, Gwadar city was battered by Cyclone Phet with record-breaking rains of 372mm and winds up to 75 mph.

Culture

Gwadar's location and history have given it a unique blend of cultures. The Arabic influence upon Gwadar is strong as a consequence of theOmani era and the close proximity of other Arab-majority regions. The legacy of the Omanis is observed in the population by the presence of residents which can trace their descent from the Zanj slaves and free men (Afro Arabs), who have settled in the town during Omani rule. They have an Arab dance and music called Liwa which is also performed in the Arabian Peninsula.The area also has a remarkable religious diversity, being home to not only Sunni, Ibadi and Zikri Muslims, but also to groups of Christians, Hindus, Parsis, and various minorities such as the Ahmadies.

Transport

Ships in the beautiful Gwadar west bay

Gwadar is located on the Gulf of Oman close to the entrance of the Persian Gulf, about 460 kilometres west of Karachi. In 1993, Pakistan started feasibility studies for the development of a major deepwater seaport at Gwadar. The port project commenced on 22 March 2002 with the first phase completed in December 2005.

The construction of the port has spurred other major infrastructure projects in the area. This includes the 700 km Makran Coastal Highway which is now complete. The road links Karachi with several ports along the coast including Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar and will be extended to the Iranian border in the future. The highway has reduced travel time to Karachi from 48 hours to only 7 hours. Other road projects include the Gwadar-Quetta-Chaman road which is due for completion in 2006 and a roadlink to the town of Khuzdar in eastern Balochistan. There are also plans for a terminal for passenger ships.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan has earmarked 3000 acres (12 km²) of land for Gwadar International Airport which will be built 26 km away to the northeast of the existing airport towards Pasni and is likely to cost between $200–250 million. The new airport will be given international status and operate under the open sky policy. In the meantime there are plans to improve facilities at the existing airport.

Railways

Former Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said, “The government is focusing on laying the Havelian-Kashghar (China) and Quetta-Kandahar (Afghanistan) railway tracks”. In 2006, Ministry of Railways announced that Gwadar will be connected to Pakistan Railways network at an expected cost of $ 1.25 billion (Rs. 75-billion).

Geopolitical importance

Strategic location of Gwadar, and possible oil lines through the region

The Gwadar deep-sea port emerges as a place of great strategic value, enhancing Pakistan's importance in the whole region, extending from the Persian Gulf through the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia and the Far East.

Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the important Straits of Hormuz, through which more than 13 million bpd of oil passes. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions of the world: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-rich Central Asia.

The construction of the Gwadar deep-sea port is just one component of a larger development plan which includes building a network of roads connecting Gwadar with the rest of Pakistan, such as the 650 km Coastal Highway to Karachi and the Gwadar-Turbat road (188 km). This network of roads connects with China through the Indus Highway. Pakistan, China, Kazakhistan, Kyrgizstan and Uzbekistan are developing extensive road and rail links from Central Asia and the Chinese province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea coast.

The Pakistani Government has initiated several projects, with majority financial and technical assistance from China, to develop Gwadar's strategic location as a goods transit and trade point. The primary project is the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar to enable high-volume cargo movement to and from the landlocked Central Asian states. The new port will also encompass conversion facilities to allow for the movement of natural gas as a part of plans for a termination point for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan natural gas pipeline. The secondary project is a coastal highway connecting Gwadar to Karachi, whose $200 million cost will be completely financed by the Chinese. Gwadar will serve as a port of entry for oil and gas to be transported by land to the western regions of China.

The project's fate is tied to the decentralization of government in Pakistan. If an agreement is brokered with the Baluch, the Pakistani military will gain a strategic depth southwest from its naval base in Karachi that has long been vulnerable to blockade by the Indian Navy. China is going to be the beneficiary of Gwadar's most accessible international trade routes to the Central Asian republics and Xinjiang. By extending its East-West Railway from the Chinese border city of Kashi to Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest, Beijing can receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route, from Karachi to Peshawar. The rail network could also be used to supply oil from the Persian Gulf to Xinjiang. Pakistan's internal rail network can also provide China with rail access to Iran. Rail access will however be hampered somewhat by differences in gauge: China and Iran - 1435 mm; Pakistan - 1676 mm; Central Asia - 1524 mm.

Economic

Mainly the Economy of Gwadar is based on Fishing Industry as it is located on the 600 Kilometers coastline, other main business in Gwadar is of Livestock. Balochistan (Pakistan) is the largest exporter of livestock to the world from Pakistan. In fish products, Gwadar exports Arabian sea Fish, Shrimps, Crabs, and lobsters and is one of the main hub of Fish Industry in Pakistan. As the development in Gwadar has been started another emerging industry in Gwadar is Real States, Many foreign and local developers are buying lands in Gwadar and constructing Housing Societies, Hotels and Malls.The government declared EPZ Zone 10 Years Tax Free Area..in 2009 in order to bring investment in Gwadar.

Development Projects

Oman

Oman has offered $100 million aid for the development of social and infrastructure facilities in Balochistan. Out of $100 million, Oman has provided $7 million for extending of runway at Gwadar Airport, construction of jetties, upgradation of Gwadar Hospital, provision of 100 engines to fishermen and construction of power house. Oman is also financing construction of Gwadar-Hoshab Road, water supply scheme in Gwadar area and construction of irrigation dams.

Pakistan and Oman have signed a number of agreements including Avoidance of Double Taxation, Promotion and Protection of Investment, Cultural, Technical and Educational Cooperation, Agreement on cooperation between Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and FPCCI, Maritime Boundary Agreement and Agreement to establish Pak-Oman Joint Investment Company.

Around 70,000 Pakistani citizens work in Oman.

Pakistan

Pakistan through networking of roads is linking Gwadar with Karachi and the north to enable the Central Asian States to use Gwadar as a port for their trade. Water supply is being improved, seven jetties are being constructed and local fishermen are being given engine propelled boats. The local hospital is also being upgraded.

A number of electric power generation projects are also being carried out in Gwadar and in its surroundings. The Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), a subsidiary of the Wapda, has geared up the work for building the power transmission line. It is expected to be completed soon. Recently Iran is providing 300 MW of electricity to Makran Area

Airport

Gwadar has a big airport for commercial aircraft. There is a need for the expansion of the airport and enlargement of its runway to facilitate the landing of wide body aircraft. The Civil Aviation Authority has been directed to upgrade Gwadar Airport for the landing of jet aircraf by the end of 2004. A sum of 2.3 million dollars is being utilized from Omani grant. The Pakistan government and the Civil Aviation Authority are also contributing additional Rs563.35 million for this purpose.

Dry Port

A dry port in the Sino-Pakistani border town of Sust, 200 km north of Gilgit, was constructed in 2004 at a cost of Rs 90 million. Soon, President Musharraf announced that the state of the art facility would be linked to Gwadar via the Karakoram Highway. According to the president, this provides parts of China with the shortest access to Pakistani deep sea ports, and the Middle East. recently this project is in papers only.

Rice zone

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP)-apex body of the rice exporters in the country- has decided to establish a rice zone in Gwadar to fetch the opportunities in the area after the construction of new port. The establishment of warehouses will provide extraordinary facilities to rice exporters especially for those who export rice to Iran as the Iranian border is only at a distance of three hours from Gwadar.

rs and other plants have been installed in addition to a 50 MW power-house. 33 km railway line from Taftan to Saindak has also been laid. The Chinese company MRDL has so far invested $25 million (Rs 1.5 billion) on the project.

Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline

The 1400 km Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline (TAP) from Turkemenistan to Gwadar(Pakistan), a long-dormant project that would pump Turkmen natural gas to markets in South Asia, may finally be poised to begin at a cost of $3 billion. The Government has announced that a massive defense facility will be constructed in the city in order to guarantee the security of the area. The Government has also announced that a new shipbuilding centre will be built at Gwadar, with an as-yet unspecified international partner.

Port Operations

A view of Gwadar Port

Port of Singapore was scheduled to take over management of Gwadar Port by the end of January 2007. Port of Singapore was the highest bidder for the Gwadar port after DP World backed out of the bidding process. Originally, the chairman of Dubai Ports World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who met Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf on May 5, 2006, expressed a strong hope for management of facilities at the strategic Gwadar deep sea port and development of infrastructure in the southern port city and elsewhere in Pakistan. But a decision was taken not to bid, after India’s National Security Council voiced concerns about DP World’s ventures in India, alongside its plans in Pakistan, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem assured the Indians their pull-out was well considered and India need not have any security concerns. The port will now be in competition with that of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Opening Date

The first ship anchored in the Gwadar port on March 15, 2008. The first ship was a Canadian ship carrying wheat. It was the largest ship to anchor in Pakistan.

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