It is only by the grace of Allah, the Almighty, who bestowed upon me the energy and time to write another book on the ‘development economics’ of Balochistan after ‘ Economic Development of Balochistan’.
‘Gwadar: An emerging gateway Port to Central Asia & West China’ is not only the latest account of the ongoing Mega deep-sea Port project at Gwadar in Balochistan but it also thoroughly reviews the potential, scope, political economy and future prospects of this project in separate parts or chapters.
The Gwadar port project is vital for Pakistan , both from security and economic point of view. It is going to be the third deep-sea port in Pakistan after Karachi and Port Qasim. The port comes as a much-needed national requirement in the wake of the rise in cargo traffic at Keamari and Bin Qasim, which are operating at nearly full capacity.
By virtue of its geo-strategic location, Gwadar has the potential to emerge as the mother port in the region. It would be providing opportunities for promotion of global shipping in the region. It will revive trade links between China and Central Asian States providing them nearest approach to the warm waters. It will attract the shipping companies moving cargo to and from land-locked countries of Afghanistan , Uzbekistan and Tajikistan . At the same time, the practitioners of dirty geo-politics and the protagonists of power politics in global and regional arena have keen eye on the ongoing developments in Balochistan, which is strategically located in the region of immense geo-political importance.
The development of Gwadar port has received attention of the investors not only in Pakistan but also from all over the world, particularly Central Asia, Afghanistan , China , Japan , Singapore . Now the big challenge before the economic managers in Islamabad is to make viable strategies, programs and policies and efficient decisions to convert Gwadar into a comprehensive and competitive project.
The book consists of 9 chapters. A separate Chapter on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Gwadar Port project is also included in the book with a view to provoke thoughts about the impacts of this Mega project on environment.
President Musharraf inaugurated the construction of Mega seaport project at Gwadar on 22 March 2002. The project is bound to generate tremendous economic activity in Balochistan and play a key role in alleviating poverty not only in the province but the country as a whole. Gwadar port would help bring Balochistan’s coastal areas into the socio-economic mainstream. It will serve as a catalyst for fast track development of Balochistan bringing it at par with other provinces of Pakistan
The social sector in Balochistan suffered from years of neglect. The people of Balochistan have witnessed a policy of discrimination and alienation from Islamabad . In the light of their bitter experiences of the past, they have genuine reservations and grievances (about the ongoing development process in the province) which need to be addressed, discussed and redressed or resolved in a democratic environment.
Fairly speaking, no one in Balochistan is against the ongoing process of economic development. What irks the local population is their technological backwardness and a long history of the practices of discrimination, the monopolized and politicized trends, vested interests, manipulations, politics and injustices which have ever been involved in the development of this province. All these factors make them apprehensive about the ongoing development process.
The book also takes into consideration the issues related to the development of Gwadar Port and highlights the reservations and apprehensions of the local population about this Mega project.