See ‘Chapati Mystery: The Baluchistan Issue’:http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/homistan/the_baluchistan_issue.html and ‘the umpteenth failure of pakistan’:http://avari.blogs.com/weblog/2005/01/the_umpteenth_f.html first for a good overview of the Baluchistan Issue.
The post below is an answer to some questions asked by ‘Haroon’:http://avari.blogs.com/weblog/2005/01/the_umpteenth_f.html:
_the brilliant government decides to put money into another city._
The Chinese are investing in Gawadur. The Pakistan govt. is not. Yes, it has put in 50 million dollars, but these days that hardly qualifies as money.
_Who in God’s name will use the Gwadar port?_
China, and a few of the Gulf countries. Beijing is investing billions upon billions of dollars in western China in a grand 5-year plan to develop it – and Gawadar is part and parcel of that 5 year plan.
bq. Gwadar will give the Chinese an opportunity to establish for the first time a naval presence in the Arabian Sea and Western part of the Indian Ocean.
The “New York Times on the Gawadur Port”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/11/opinion/11chanda.html?ex=1270872000&en=5d9bd18daf83f97d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland:
bq. This time, China’s thirst for energy is dictating its turn to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Since 1993 China has been a net oil importer; as its need has grown to 40 percent of total consumption, so has its dependence on oil from the Middle East. Eighty percent of China’s oil imports pass through the Malacca Straits, the closing of which would wreak havoc upon the Chinese economy. To reduce this dependence, China has been working to build alternative supply routes through Myanmar to the south and Pakistan to the west. A road, and eventually a pipeline, from Gwadar could give China an alternative energy route that it urgently needs and spur the development of its westernmost provinces. Hence its plan to *provide more than a billion dollars in aid and loan guarantees for building at Gwadar.*
_What advantages does it have, being located in an increasingly unstable part of a very shaky and rickety Islamic Republic?_
bq. China’s decision to finance construction of Pakistan’s Gawadar Port and the coastal highway linking the port to Karachi is of a piece with its plans for developing western China. The distance from Kashgar to Chinese east coast ports is 3,500 km, whereas the distance from Kashgar to Gawadar is only 1,500 km. The cost benefits to China of using Gawadar as the port for western China’s imports and exports are therefore self-evident, as are the long-term economic benefits to Pakistan of Gawadar becoming a port for Chinese good.
>> ‘Kaleem Omar: A Chinese moon in a Chinese sky’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/print.asp?page=story_28-5-2002_pg3_8&ndate=09/16/2004%2011:04:32%20PM
_Why not just pick Iran’s nearby seaports, India’s or the Gulf’s?_
For China, Gawadur is the most feasible seaport. India/Iran would not allow China to have a Naval presence, while Pakistan is bending over backwards. India is upgrading it’s Navy to counter China’s increasing naval presence.
_Not to mention that the Gwadar Project is another get-rich-quick for Pakistan’s disgustingly wealthy elite_
Don’t confuse the land-grab going on in Gawadur with the Port. They are two completely different things. The govt. has mismanaged the development of the city to it’s best – in fact they have really risen to the occasion far beyond their norm and set back development of the city by a decade or two – but that has absolutely nothing to do with the port itself.
Don’t think the Pakistan govt. is developing Baluchistan for the Baluchis – while they will also benefit it is more of a by the way thing. If Gawadar port is run rationally, unlike Karachi, it can become an actual hub:
bq. Pakistan can reap enormous economic benefits from this alternate overland trade route from Gwadar to the five Central Asian Republics and western China. All the export and import trade of these six countries could then flow through Gwadar, earning Pakistan hundreds of millions of dollars a year in port charges, bunkering charges, stevedoring fees, cargo-handling charges and other imposts.
p. The locals have benefited already from the Makran Coastal highway. Prices for fish have shot up many times, for they can now get them transported fresh to Karachi. Kaleem Omar writes in the the News:
bq.. …The local population of the Balochistan coastal region and other parts of the province would benefit significantly from all the economic activity involved in creating this infrastructure. These benefits would flow not only from thousands of jobs for locals with companies and government agencies engaged in the construction programme but also from the numerous indigenous vendor industries, firms and individual enterprises that would inevitably emerge to supply local goods and services to these companies and agencies.
The port, highway network and other infrastructure facilities will also create a lot of employment opportunities for the local population with private firms and government departments that would be involved in operating and maintaining these facilities.
When we, in Pakistan, talk of the growth potential of future overland trade between the countries of this region, *we are not talking about small quantities of cargo but of millions upon millions of tons of commodities and goods.*
p. It’s not just the economic benefits – Pakistan will also gain military benefits. Once China starts using the Gawadar port, it will be in it’s interest to ensure a stable Pakistan India relationship.
bq. Many believe it is only a matter of time before the Chinese Navy, much strengthened by recent purchases of ships and technology, arrives in Gwadar. Pakistani officials boast that Gwadar’s Chinese connection will help to frustrate India’s domination of regional waterways.
h4. more readings
* ‘HRCP: Human Rights in Balochistan & Balochistans Rights’:http://www.hrcp-web.org/book_balochistan.cfm
* “Wikipedia entry on Baluchistan”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baluchistan
fn1. Google to exact the exact amount.