News / Asia

Pakistani Handover of Gwadar Port to Beijing Draws Scrutiny

Pakistani Handover of Gwadar Port to Beijing Draws Scrutinyi
X
February 25, 2013 10:03 PM
Pakistan recently handed over management of its strategic deepwater Gwadar seaport to China. Both countries insist the deal is a “purely commercial venture.” But critics and financial analysts are skeptical about the remote port's economic viability and believe it will be used for military purposes. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan recently handed over management of its strategic deepwater Gwadar seaport to China. Both countries insist the deal is a “purely commercial venture.” But critics and financial analysts are skeptical about the remote port's economic viability and believe it will be used for military purposes.

The Gwadar port lies near the Strait of Hormuz, gateway for about 20 percent of the world’s oil. Beijing provided most of the port's initial $250 million construction cost, as part of a plan to establish a trade and energy corridor from the Gulf, through Pakistan and on to western China.

Since it was first handed over to a Singaporean operator in 2007, however, the isolated facility has been a commercial failure. Baluchistan's ongoing instability and local political opposition are largely responsible.

But Pakistani authorities blamed the Singaporean operator and decided to transfer control to a state-run Chinese company. President Asif Ali Zardari oversaw the signing ceremony in Islamabad.

“The award of this contract opens new opportunities for our people, particularly for the people of Baluchistan. It gives new impetus to Pakistan-China relations. It takes a step further our political cooperation into the realm of economic cooperation,” said Zardari.

Supporters of the deal, such as director of the privately-run Strategic Studies Institute, Fazal-ur Rehman, hope the Chinese intervention will speed up the critical improvements still needed at the port.

“It is still an ongoing project. It is not complete. So, by bringing in China means that we can ensure investment on the infrastructure, we can ensure investment on the up gradation and completion of the project,” said Rehman.

Many critics in Pakistan remain skeptical that anyone will be able to make Gwadar economically viable, given the instability and poverty of surrounding Baluchistan province. They say just building the road and rail links to the port could take years - if they are ever built at all.

Ishaq Baloch, a senior nationalist leader in Baluchistan, said federal authorities never consulted with local officials on the deal with China.

“When you will not give the sense of ownership to the native people, they will oppose the mega projects. They will oppose such economic activities if they are not getting benefit from them, and we have a very bitter experience about [previous projects run by] China [in Baluchistan]" said Baloch.

Independent analysts, like former ambassador Arif Ayub, say Pakistani policy makers long have warned about the challenges of developing the Gwadar port. He said handing control to China may not yield any economic benefits.

“It is purely a white elephant [expensive business venture without value], which we are trying to wash our hands of,” said Ayub.

In India, officials have called China's role in the port “a matter of concern” because of suspicions it will be used by the Chinese Navy.

“We try to maintain a balance in our country and there is a need to take steps to maintain this balance between India and China on this [Gwadar port] issue,” said Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Moazam Ahmed Khan dismisses such concerns and insists the port remains a viable business opportunity, despite its challenges.

“I think we should only look at this venture as an economic and commercial venture solely focused on improving development of the area helping Chinese good[s] reach other markets, getting China a shortest route for its energy supplies,” said Khan.

If successful, the Gwadar port could be a key piece of China's growing energy infrastructure, cutting by half the distance between China's western provinces and the sea.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Asad Khan from: Hyderabad
February 28, 2013 3:55 AM
The Participation of China in Gwadar will bring prosperity and socio economic uplift of the whole western region of Pakistan.
Pakistan in the past manage Balochistan province through different tribal leaders (Sardars) which was not a wise policy because these tribal leaders lacks vision and they are very clannish in nature. Now, due to emergence of youth and fresh ideas Balochistan showing signs of change and forwardness.

Although Karachi Port has got excellent facilities and it handles 90% of the maritime traffic of the whole Pakistan but it is already choked and 250+ Nautical Miles Eastward from Gwadar. So, the issue here is capacity and infrastructure building and Gwadar offers best of the two.

And all this ‘China taking over’ and ‘strings of pearls’ are just non-sense and lacks analytical approach. The World at large and this region in particular needs trade, development & peace. The two super powers (USSR in Past and USA current) brought nothing but war & destruction.

In Response

by: Asad Khan from: Hyderabad
March 01, 2013 8:28 AM
@ Malek Towghi/Tauqee

Sir, pardon any disrespect, the doctrine of yours defies common sense. Thx.

In Response

by: Malek Towghi/Tauqee, Ph.D from: USA
February 28, 2013 1:08 PM
A country that cannot manage a port that it claims to be its own does not have the right to exist. Pakistan is doomed to disintegrate. Sooner or later, Pakistan-occupied Balochistan will be free. Dr. Malek Towghi, Liaison, Baloch Human Rights International


by: Malek Towghi, Ph.D. from: USA
February 25, 2013 7:01 PM
With China well-established in Gwadar, Pakistan-occupied Balochistan, all of our efforts to protect our interests in the Far East /South East Asia will be neutralized. Only a revision in the West's trade policies concerning China -- a drastic decrease of imports from China -- may be somewhat effective.

In Response

by: Doda Malook from: Balochistan
March 02, 2013 7:42 AM
Distortion of historical fact: 'constitutional part'.......!!!!?. Is somebody talking of that constitution of Pakistan, for which the reps. from Balochistan refused to be signatories??????
For sure, after loosing the safe-evens in Afghanistan for its anti-human terrorist networks and their trafficking to destabilize regional peace, Pakistan enforces its presence on the occupied territory of Balochistan. This time it is bribing China and Iran, by selling out Baloch coast (Gwadar Deep-Sea Port) and Baloch territory (for lying IP gas pipeline), respectively, to ensure that no factor within and outside may stop ISI to create safe-evens for terrorist groups like Al-Qaida, Talibans, LeJ, etc. in and arround the mountains and desserts of Chagai, Kharan, Washuk, and Mekran. Appeal to the peace loving people, states, and governments of the world: If you want that no terrorist plans are made in such terrorist camps and implemented in your towns and cities, then strongly oppose these two so-called "economic" and "commercial" projects of Pakistani state. Remember only a free, democratic, and liberal Balochistan, after withdrawal from Afghanistan, may stop establishing new terrorist networks, and export of killers and bombers from this part of the world.
I am pretty sure that soon the world is going to hear about an Atomic Blast experiment carried-out by Iran in collaboration with Pakistan and China.......and the place would be none, but the territory of occupied Balochistan........catchment/project areas of the pipeline and the port. God save the humanity.

In Response

by: Hassan Hakeem from: Islamabad
February 28, 2013 3:57 AM
Firstly, Baluchistan is a constitutional part of Pakistan; not an occupied territory (although Baloch nationalists do not accept the state's writ, there are evidence of such movements being foreign funded). As for China Overseas Port Holdings taking over the Gwadar port, the agreement is to enhance the bilateral relations between Pakistn and China plus an opportunity to lift the economic viability of the port. It is, not in any sense, to neutralize West's interests in the region.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid