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Gwadar Future Gwadar deep seaport undoubtedly retains a significant role in the future economic boom of Pakistan, particularly

in the wake of the trade potentials of the Central Asian Republics. The foreseeable rapid development of western China will create tremendous economic and trade enterprises. Gwadar was selected as an alternative seaport, since port Qasim did not have the capacity to accommodate the expected load. Gwadar’s location, at the entrance of Strait of Hormuz, provides enormous economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but to other regions also, like the Central Asian Republics, Middle East, South Asia and Gulf States. However, the prevailing nonconducive security environments and instable political situation in Pakistan are of grave concern to the project’s completion. The implications erupting for regional and outer powers are fragile and need to be handled carefully, owing to its immense geo-strategic significance. Albeit, the site of Gwadar was identified in 1964, however, technical and financial feasibilities that commenced as late as 8th five year plan (1993 – 97) included the development of Gwadar port. In 2001, the proposal turned to a miraculous realty when China finally agreed to undertake the onerous project of construction and development of Gwadar project. Resultantly, in March 2002, the Chinese Vice Premier Wu Bangguo laid the foundation stone of the deep seaport. As envisaged in the master plan, it was to be undertaken in two phases. Phase one includes three multi purpose berths which have the length of 600 meters, 4.5 kilometers long approach channel dredged to 12.5 meters, turning basin of 450 meters diameter, one service berth of 100 meter length and related port infrastructure and equipment etc. It is pertinent to mention that the port shall operate smoothly, just like a modern port. The ports having completed phase one can handle bulk carriers of 30,000 dead weight tons (DWT) and container vessels of 25,000 DWT. Phase two of the project will comprise of nine additional berths which include four container berths, one bulk cargo terminal capable of handling 100,000 DWT ships one grain terminal and two oil terminals to handle 200,000 DWT ships. But the vast expanse of tribal land, inadequate security, sardars and nawabs oriented tribal clans, rampant smuggling of narcotics and weapons and nationalist activists have weakened the government’s writ in Balochistan. The law and order situation worsens intermittently; the foreign elements covert intervention is another contributory factor. These factors are likely to grow, if economic affluence of Gwadar is not shared visibly with locals as the province suffers from socio-economic backwardness. The government’s neglect and exploitations have diminished the national sprits of the inhabitants of Balochistan, harbouring ill feelings particularly against Punjab. The educated youth is unemployed, rather are hostages at the hands of sub-nationalists. Job opportunities in the province are otherwise bleak owing to numerous reasons, yet accordingly, as the clandestine motives of foreign players are no more a secret. Despite the negative propaganda and the killing of three Chinese engineers in May 2004, the project seems to have progressed steadily. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) had claimed responsibility of this heinous incident. In case more Chinese are targeted in future, China might abandon the project

Russia opposes any economic cooperation between Pakistan and Central Asia. being a strong regional power. bomb and rocket attacks are used. as it is exploiting the dissident elements and nationalist leaders of Balochistan to impede the project through acts of terrorism. The nationalist activists intimidate the non-Baloch workers in an attempt to scare them away and force the government to employ only locals. It would be an opportunity and threat to the adjoining sea ports. Russia and US has endeavoured to form axis with Iran to counter the influence of the NATO forces present in the region. The US military and economic interests in the garb of pursuance of the al Qaeda have been unveiled ever since the invasion of Afghanistan. which has to be from and to Afghanistan. China. being the middle ground between the Central Asia and Pakistan. . Countries like Iran and India have their economic interests associated with the Gwadar port. has undertaken the mega project which would be an integral part of the China foreign trade route in the foreseeable future. To hamper the project and to coerce the investors. The most sizzling is Afghanistan. as this is a common phenomenon resorted to by the insurgents. especially India. It is conjectured that the entire Middle East.and that would cause inexorable burden on Pakistan’s economy. Central Asia and South Asia could utilise the Gwadar deep sea port.