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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora