Clockwise from left: Gwadar Beach, Gwadar Port, natural stone's in the city and the view of Gwadar City
|• Total||12,637 km2 (4,879 sq mi)|
|• Estimate (2006)||85,000|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|Number of towns||1|
|Number of Union councils||5|
Gwadar (Urdu: گوادر; pronounced [ɡʷɑːd̪əɾ]) is a port city on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, Pakistan. The city is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, approximately 700 kilometres to the west of Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. Gwadar is near the border with Iran, and is located to the east of the Persian Gulf and opposite Oman.
Gwadar and its surrounding region were overseas possessions of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman from 1783 until Pakistan purchased the territory September 8, 1958. Pakistan assumed control of the territory on December 8, 1958, and the territory was later integrated into Balochistan province on July 1, 1977, as Gwadar District.
For most of its history, Gwadar was a small to medium-sized settlement with an economy largely based on artisanal fishing. The strategic value of its location was first recognized in 1954 when it was identified as a suitable site for a deep water port by the United States Geological Survey at the request of Pakistan while the territory was still under Omani rule. The area's potential to be a major deep water port remained untapped under successive Pakistani governments until 2001, when construction on the first phase of Gwadar Port was initiated. The first phase 2007 was inaugurated by General Parvez Musharraf at a total cost of $248 million. The port remained underutilized after construction for a variety of reasons, including lack of investment, security concerns, and the Government of Pakistan's failure to transfer land as promised to the port operator, Port of Singapore Authority.
In April 2015, Pakistan and China announced their intention to develop the $46 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which in turn forms part of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road. Gwadar features heavily in CPEC, and is also envisaged to be the link between the One Belt, One Road and Maritime Silk Road project. $1.153 billion worth of infrastructure projects will be invested into the city as part of CPEC, with the aim of linking northern Pakistan and western China to the deep water seaport. The city will also be the site of a floating liquefied natural gas facility that will be built as part of the larger $2.5 billion Gwadar-Nawabshah segment of the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline project. In addition to investments directly under the aegis of CPEC in Gwadar city, the China Overseas Port Holding Company in June 2016 began construction on the $2 billion Gwadar Special Economic Zone, which is being modelled on the lines of the Special Economic Zones of China.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Administration
- 5 Culture
- 6 Strategic importance
- 7 Economy
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The word "Gwadar" is a corruption of the Pashto word "Godar" which means "river bank" or applied to any area near water. A theory is that the name derived from the ancient name of Baluchistan, "Gedrosia", which was given by the Greeks to the arid area of southern Baluchistan.
Inhabitation of Gwadar, like most areas of Balochistan, appears to be ancient. The area shows inhabitation as early as the Bronze age with settlements around some of the area's oases. It is from this settlement pattern that word Makran, the original name of Balochistan, is derived. For a period, it was a region of the Achaemenid 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 Bampūr, 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 reverted to Indian rule around about 303 BC after Seleucus made peace with Emperor Chandragupta and ceded the territory to the Indian Empire.
The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium until the Arab-Muslim army of Umar captured Makran in AD 643 and over the intervening (and nearly equivalent) amount of time the area was contested by various powers. This was then followed by almost two centuries of local rule by the various Baloch tribes. The city was visited by Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis in the 1550s and mentioned in his book Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557. According to Seydi Ali Reis, the inhabitants of Gwadar were Baloch and their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar.
In the 15th century the Portuguese conquered many parts of India and Oman. They planned to proceed with annexation of the coastal area of Makran. They attacked Gwadar under the leadership of Vasco de Gama, but under the supervision of Commander Mir Ismaheel Baloch, the Portuguese were defeated by the Baloch. A few times the Portuguese looted and set the coastal villages on fire, but they failed to capture Gwadar. Cannons of the Portuguese army were found lying near the Central Jail of Gwadar, heirless. The grave of Mir Ismaheel Baloch is situated near the Mountain of Batal Gwadar, constructed by Mir Ismaheel Baloch himself during life. He died in 873 Hijri.
In 1783, the Khan of Kalat Mir Noori Naseer Khan Baloch granted 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 (now in Iran). The Gwadar fort was built during Omani rule, whilst telegraph lines were later extended into the town courtesy of the British. In the middle of the 18th century, Mir Noori Naseer Khan Baloch captured Gwadar and its surrounding areas after defeating the Gichki Baloch tribe and included it in the Kalat Khanate. However, realizing that maintaining control of the area will be difficult without the support of the Gichkis, Mir Nasir entered into an agreement with the local Gichki Chief, which allowed the Gichkis to maintain administrative control of the area, in return for furnishing half the collected revenues to Kalat, this arrangement continued till 1783. When Saiad Sultan fell out with his brother, the ruler of Muscat, and asked for help, Mir Noori Naseer Khan handed over Gwadar, as part of his share of revenues, to Saiad Sultan for his maintenance with the understanding that the area be returned to Kalat, when Saiad Sultan acquires the throne. Saiad Sultan ascended to the throne of Muscat in 1797 but never returned Gwadar enclave to Kalat. The ensuing struggle between the heirs of the Sultan and Khan of Kalat for possession of Gwadar, allowed the British to intervene. The British after extracting concessions from the Sultan for the use of the area facilitated Muscat to retain Gwadar. Later on, the British claimed that the area was granted to the Sultan by Mir Nasir, however, local accounts and the declassified documents of that time challenge this claim. From 1863 to 1879 Gwadar was the headquarters of a British Assistant Political Agent. Gwadar was a fortnightly port of call for the British India Steamship Navigation Company’s steamers and included a combined Post & Telegraph Office. Sultan was the sovereign of Gwadar until negotiations were held with the government of Pakistan in the 1950s.
Post-1958 as part of Pakistan
In 1955, Makran acceded to Pakistan and was made a district - Gwadar then, was not included in Makran. In 1958, Gwadar and its surrounding areas were reverted by Maskat to Pakistan. It was given the status of a Tahsil of Makran district. On July 1, 1977, Makran District was upgraded into a division and was divided into three districts of Turbat (Kech since 1994-95), Panjgur and Gwadar. On 8 September 1958, Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from Oman for 5.5 billion Rupees (equivalent to US$1.1 billion in 2015 dollars). The Agreement had two important clauses: (1) All Balochistan would form a military recruitment source for Oman; as a result Balochis constitute a major part of Omani forces, and (2) the resources of Gwadar would be further developed. Most of the money for the purchase came from donations, with Prince Sultan Mohammad Shah, the reigning Aga Khan, being the greatest contributor, while the remainder was paid through tax revenue. At the time, Gwadar was a small and underdeveloped fishing village with a population of a few thousand. The Pakistani government integrated Gwadar into Balochistan province on 1 July 1977 as the district headquarters of the newly formed Gwadar District. In 1993, the Government of Pakistan formally conceived the plan to develop Gwadar into a major port city with a deep-sea port and to connect it with Pakistan's highway and rail networks. On 22 March 2002, the Government of Pakistan began construction of Gwadar Port, a modern deep-sea port, Phase I of which was completed in March 2007. Gwadar Port was inaugurated on 20 March 2007.
Gwadar underwent major development from 2002 to 2007. In 2002, Pakistan's National Highway Authority (NHA) began construction of the 653 km-long Makran Coastal Highway linking Gwadar with Karachi via Pasni and Ormara and onwards with the rest of the National Highways of Pakistan, which was completed in 2004. In 2003, the Gwadar Development Authority was established to oversee the planning and development of Gwadar and Gwadar Industrial Estate Development Authority was established to promote industrial activities in mega port city of Gwadar. In 2004, Pakistan's NHA began construction of the 820-km long M8 motorway linking Gwadar with Ratodero in Sindh province via Turbat, Hoshab, Awaran and Khuzdar and onwards with the rest of the Motorways of Pakistan. In 2006, the Gwadar Development Authority conceived, developed and adopted a 50-year Master Plan for Gwadar. In 2007, the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan acquired 4,300 acres (17 km2) to construct a new greenfield airport, the New Gwadar International Airport 6,000 acres (24 km2), at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.5 billion.
Gwadar port expansion under CPEC
China has a great strategic interest in Gwadar. In 2013, the state-owned China Overseas Port Holdings Limited acquired Gwadar Port. The port is strategically important for China as sixty percent of China's oil comes from the Persian Gulf by ships traveling over 16,000 kilometres in two to three months, confronting pirates, bad weather, political rivals, and other risks up to its only commercial port, Shanghai. Gwadar will reduce the distance to a mere 5000 kilometres and also serve round the year.
China has been instrumental in design of the project. China is providing approximately 80% of the cost of the port in the shape of grants and soft loans. Over 500 Chinese workers have worked on the project on a 24-hour basis to complete the port setup. There are still a large number of Chinese workers and engineers working on the project. China is setting up a dry port at the Pakistan–China border to take advantage of shorter route to sea through Gwadar. China paid US$360 million to Pakistan for expansion and an upgrade for all weather trafficability of Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China. The contract has been awarded to Frontier Works Organization, who has also started the project. Feasibility and engineering studies to connect China with Gwadar through a pipeline and railway track have already begun.
China is heavily dependent on Persian Gulf oil which passes through the Strait of Malacca all the way through the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Once the oil reaches China's east coast ports, it is transported thousands of miles inland to western China. The Gwadar port-Karakoram Highway (KKH) route is safer, cheaper and shorter than transporting the oil by ocean tanker. Chinese goods flowing in the opposite direction will find an easier, shorter and secure route to the Middle East, increasing trade. The Government of Pakistan has committed to providing a naval base to China in Gwadar. This will not only help secure Gwadar but also take Pakistan-China relations to new heights. Although some analysts claim that China intends to establish a naval presence at Gwadar, others argue that China will be cautious about such a development. A Chinese military presence in Gwadar may provoke a significant reaction from both the United States and India.
Gwadar is situated on the southwestern Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan in Gwadar District of Balochistan province. Like Ormara further east, Gwadar is situated on a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula forming two almost perfect, but naturally curved, semicircular bays on either side. The city is situated on a narrow and sandy 12 kilometer long isthmus which connects the Pakistani coast to rocky outcroppings in the Arabian sea known as the Gwadar Promentory, or Koh-e-Batil, which reach an altitude of 480 feet and extends seven miles east to west with a breadth of one mile. The 800 foot wide isthmus upon which Gwadar is located separates the two almost perfect semicircular bays from one another. The western bay is known as the Paddi Zirr, and is generally shallow with an average depth of 12 feet, and a maximum depth of 30 feet. To the east of the isthmus is the deepwater Demi Zirr harbor, where the Gwadar Port was built.
The area north of the city and Gwadar Promentory is flate and generally barren. The white clay Koh-e-Mehdi (also known as Jabal-e-Mehdi) is a notable exception, and rises sharply from the plans to the northeast of Gwadar. The Koh-e-Mehdi features a two discernible peaks, with a height of 1,360 and 1,375 feet, and is approximately 4 miles wide and features sharp cliffs that drop precipitously into the Arabian Sea. Following an earthquake in September 2013 a small island called Zalzala Jazeera ("Earthquake Island") formed approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) off the coast.
Gwadar has a hot desert climate (Köppen BWh), characterised by little precipitation and high variation between summer and winter temperatures. The oceanic influence keeps the temperature lower in summer and higher in winter as compared to the inland. The mean temperature in the hottest month (June) remains between 31 °C and 32 °C. 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 Makran Coastal region. Occasionally, winds moving down the Balochistan plateau bring brief cold spells, otherwise the winter is pleasant. In Gwadar, winters are shorter than summers. Although Gwadar is situated outside the monsoon belt, it receives light monsoon showers in summer (June–August). However, in winter, Western Disturbance can cause heavy rainfall. Annual rainfall is only 100 mm (3 inches). In June 2010, Gwadar was lashed by Cyclone Phet with record-breaking rains of 372 mm and winds up to 75 mph.
|Climate data for Gwadar, Pakistan|
|Record high °C (°F)||31.1
|Average high °C (°F)||24.1
|Average low °C (°F)||13.8
|Record low °C (°F)||2.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||25.9
Gwadar is the district headquarters of Gwadar District and the tehsil (subdistrict) headquarters of Gwadar Tehsil, which is administratively subdivided into five Union councils. Three of these councils, the northern, central, and southern councils, form Gwadar city.
Gwadar's location and history have given it a unique blend of cultures. The Arabic influence upon Gwadar is strong as a consequence of the Omani era and its close proximity to the Arabian peninsula. The legacy of the Omanis is observed in the local Makrani population who can trace their lineage to Afro-Arabs and Zanj slaves, who settled in the town during Omani rule. They have an Arab dance and music called Liwa, which is also performed in the Arabian Peninsula.
Gwadar is strategically located on the western end of Baluchistan coast on the opposite end of the Gulf of Oman which is an important route for oil tankers bound for Japan and western countries out of Gulf. Since outflow of goods from western China and Central Asia reaching Gwadar will pass through this overland trade route, Pakistan could earn millions of dollars a year in terms of port and cargo handling charges and also as freight charges for import cargoes and export goods. According to Arthur D. Little (Malaysia), the main consultant firm of the Gwadar development phases, low-cost land and labour are available, there is proximity to oil and gas resources and Gulf countries, there are some agricultural and mineral resources, while there could be tax-free status for investments and trade. The Gwadar Port is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenues and create at least two million jobs.
Gwadar has the potential to acquire the status of a center piece as a gate to Strait of Hurmoz; it can compete with the United Arab Emirates ports by improving the exiting links to Caspian Region, and thus providing a better trade for route to land locked Caspian Region. Gwadar has the potential to be developed into a full-fledged regional hub and a trans-shipment port in the future. In case Strait of Malacca is blocked by U.S Gwadar can serve as an alternate route for Chinese trade in the Indian Ocean and to Western Asia. In military and strategic terms, Gwadar can help China to monitor the sea-lanes from the Persian Gulf as about 60% of Chinese energy requirements come from the Persian Gulf and transit along this sea-lane. Gwadar is also further away from the reach of the Indian Navy than Karachi, which was attacked twice during in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The port of Gwadar Port can provide China a Listening Post to Observe the Indian naval activities around the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden. Central Asia and South Asia, encompassing the Caspian Region, Central Asian republics, Afghanistan and Iran, and the energy-rich ‘lake’ called the Caspian Sea, is a significant region because of its huge monetary prospective and geographically vital positioning, which has formed the region as a centre piece in the international arena. Iran has also declared support for the development of Gwadar and its port
Gwadar's economy has, in the past, been dependent mostly on fishing. It's economy, however, is undergoing rapid transformation as a small fishing village is being transformed into a major port city of Pakistan with improved communication links with the rest of Pakistan. In 1993, the Government of Pakistan commenced a feasibility study for the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar. On 22 March 2002, the Government of Pakistan began construction of Gwadar Port, a modern deep-sea port, the first phase of which was completed in December 2005 and the second in March 2007. Gwadar Port became fully operational in December 2009. The 1400 km Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline (TAP) from Turkmenistan 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.[better source needed]
Gwadar Free Zone
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China paid for 75 percent of the $248 million construction costs,
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- See list of projects: List of projects $230million for Gwadar Airport, $114m desalination plant, $35m for special economic zone infrastructure, $360m for coal plant, $140m for Eastbay Expressway, $100m for hospital, $130m for breakwaters, $27m for dredging. Sum of figures = $1.153 billion
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Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini said that the construction of Gwadar Free Zone is underway at a cost of US $2 billion.
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