By Sikander Hayat
It is true that Musharaf was the first person to really take a keen interest in the development of Gwadar and he was probably taking personal interest in the city of Gwadar to make it an industrial and tourist destination. Musharaf was an army man but not all of his ideas were bad. It can be argued that Gwadar in general and Baluchistan in particular have been neglected under democratic governments and it took an army man in the form of Pervaiz Musharaf to kick start the development projects in Baluchistan. Gwadar was the poster child of this development idea. Building the coastal highway to join Gwadar with Karachi was a master stroke and starting the port construction was another major step towards the right direction. Where he went wrong was the lack of consultation with the local stakeholders and tried to force feed development to Gwadar people. Locals thought of the project as a colonisation attempt by the federal government and balked at the idea of increase in the population which they thought would have come with the development of local infrastructure.
The current democratic government must takeover the development of Gwadar from the point where Musharaf government left it, instead of abandoning the project altogether. A democratic government will be better placed to include the Gwadar residents in the development and give them a stake in the uplift of the city.
Gwadar can and will take Baluchistan out of poverty and give the province its rightful place in the federation. Gwadar has an excellent climate
all around the year, a bit like Sharm Al Sheikh on the red sea coast of Egypt. Gwadar should be developed as a tourist attraction where sun bathers from Europe, North America, rest of the world e.t.c can lounge around in sun and have a good time on a week or two of luxury holidays.
This development should be done on top of the port operations and connection of Gwadar by road and rail to other major cities of Pakistan. Unless Gwadar is connected fully and properly to the rest of the country, there will be no or very limited private investment in the city when it is in desperate
need of private investment.
Gwadar needs attention and needs attention now. Federal government and Baluchistan government must put all their efforts in reinvigorating the Gwadar port which will result in the progress dividend for the people of Gwadar & Baluchistan resulting in peace and prosperity of this vital federating unit and the whole country.
Balochistan - Troubles Of Demographic Nature
Gwadar - Jewel Of Balochistan
Gwadar - Centre Of Central Asia
Gwadar Port Becomes Fully Operational