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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid