Gwadar port an isolated, ignored area of Pakistan for years has become the center of multi-billion-dollar development CPEC project. China is all set to build a new, 21st century Silk Road in Gwadar. Gwadar will become the hub of all economic activity in Pakistan. A $54 billion project was launched in 2013 to link western China to the Indian Ocean via Pakistan. This is the biggest project by China under “One Belt One Road” initiative. The project involves a massive network of land and sea in 65 nations. It will connect China with Africa, Asia, and Europe via ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.
Pakistan being part of this mega project is challenging as Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, told reporters, “This port is going to help Pakistan make linkages with neighboring countries. The entire nation will be getting benefits out of Gwadar. The first beneficiaries of this port will be the people of Gwadar.”
Balochistan is the most resource-rich province of Pakistan. The province that had huge potential but was ignored for decades is now being developed with the help of China.
Country´s first deep-water port, a free-trade zone and 50 kilometers (31 miles) of dock space are being developed in Gwadar.
Jamaldini said, “Gwadar port is not Chinese, our strong partner is Chinese and we appreciate their boldness. They came to Gwadar when nobody was accepting the idea to come and visit.”
China wanted to explore Gwadar for years. The country could see the potential of this Pakistani city. There is an issue of security in Gwadar. Opponents are trying to “scuttle or stall CPEC” as per Brigadier Kamal Azfar, who heads “Brigade 440”. There is a shortage of water and electricity which will diminish by the construction of dams and desalination plants part of the project.
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What people of Baluchistan want are jobs and maximum benefits for the people living in the province from CPEC.
Abdullah Usman, 47, a social worker said, “Balochistan province should get the maximum benefits instead of outsiders. It will be unfortunate if the local Baloch do not benefit… that would cause an increase in the several decades’ long sense of deprivation.”