Gwadar (Balochi and Urdu: گوادر;
pronounced [ɡʷɑːd̪əɾ]) is a port city on the southwestern
coast of Balochistan, Pakistan. The city is located on the shores of
the Arabian Sea, approximately 700 kilometres to the west of
Pakistan's largest city, Karachi.
Gwadar is near the border with Iran,
and is located to the east of the
Persian Gulf and opposite Oman. It
was an overseas possession of
Oman from 1783 to 1958.
For most of its history,
Gwadar was a small to medium-sized settlement
with an economy largely based on artisanal fishing. The strategic
value of its location was first recognized in 1954 when it was
identified as a suitable site for a deep water port by the United
States Geological Survey at the request of
Pakistan while the
territory was still under
Omani rule. The area's potential to be a
major deep water port remained untapped under successive Pakistani
governments until 2001, when construction on the first phase of Gwadar
Port was initiated. The first phase was inaugurated by General
Parvez Musharraf in 2007 at a total cost of $248 million. The port
remained underutilized after construction for a variety of reasons,
including lack of investment, security concerns, and the Government of
Pakistan's failure to transfer land as promised to the port operator,
Port of Singapore Authority.
In April 2015,
China announced their intention to develop
the $46 billion China–
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which in
turn forms part of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road. Gwadar
features heavily in CPEC, and is also envisaged to be the link between
One Belt, One Road
One Belt, One Road and
Maritime Silk Road
Maritime Silk Road project. $1.153
billion worth of infrastructure projects will be invested into the
city as part of CPEC, with the aim of linking northern
China to the deep water seaport. The city will also be the
site of a floating liquefied natural gas facility that will be built
as part of the larger $2.5 billion Gwadar-Nawabshah segment of the
Pakistan gas pipeline project. In addition to investments
directly under the aegis of CPEC in
Gwadar city, the
Port Holding Company in June 2016 began construction on the $2 billion
Special Economic Zone, which is being modelled on the lines
Special Economic Zones of China. In September 2016 the
Gwadar Development Authority published a request for tenders for the
preparation of expropriation and resettlement of Old
2.2 Enclave of Gwadar
6 Strategic importance
Gwadar Free Zone
8 See also
The word "Gwadar" is a combination of two Balochi words – Gwat
meaning wind and Dar meaning Gateway, thus
Gwadar means "The Gateway
of wind". A different theory is that the name is
derived from the ancient name of Baluchistan, Gedrosia, which was
given by the Greeks to the arid area of southern Baluchistan.[citation
Inhabitation of Gwadar, like most areas of Balochistan, appears to be
ancient. The area shows inhabitation as early as the bronze age with
settlements around some of the area's oases. It is from this
settlement pattern that word Makran, the original name of Balochistan,
is derived. For a period, it was a region of the
Empire. It is believed to have been conquered by the founder of the
Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great. The capital of the satrapy of
Gedrosia was Pura, which is thought to have been located near the
modern Bampūr, in Iranian Balochistan. During the homeward march of
Alexander the Great, his admiral, Nearchus, led a fleet along the
Makran coast and recorded that the area was dry,
mountainous, and inhabited by the "Ichthyophagoi" (or "fish eaters"),
an ancient Greek rendering of the ancient Persian phrase "Mahi
khoran," which has itself become the modern word "Makran". After
the collapse of Alexander's empire the area was ruled by Seleucus
Nicator, one of Alexander's generals. The region then came under
Mauryan rule around 303 BCE, after Seleucus made peace with Emperor
Chandragupta and ceded the territory to the Mauryans.
Enclave of Gwadar
Omani overseas possession
Coat of Arms
Also spoken; Brahui, Arabic, others
Omani overseas possession
Sultan bin Ahmad (first)
Said bin Taimur
Said bin Taimur (last)
Saif bin Ali (first)
Cessation by the Khan of Kalat
Purchase and annexation by Pakistan;
Khanate of Kalat
Today part of
Warning: Value not specified for "common_name"
The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium until
Muslim army of
Makran in AD 643 and over the
intervening (and nearly equivalent) amount of time the area was
contested by various powers. This was then followed by almost two
centuries of local rule by the various Baloch tribes. The city was
visited by Ottoman
Seydi Ali Reis
Seydi Ali Reis in the 1550s and mentioned
in his book
Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557.
According to Seydi Ali Reis, the inhabitants of
Gwadar were Baloch and
their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar.
In the 15th century the Portuguese conquered many parts of India and
Oman. They planned to proceed with annexation of the coastal area of
Makran. They attacked
Gwadar under the leadership of Vasco de Gama,
but under the supervision of Commander Mir Ismaheel Baloch, the
Portuguese were defeated by the Baloch. A few times the Portuguese
looted and set the coastal villages on fire, but they failed to
capture Gwadar. Cannons of the Portuguese army were found lying near
the Central Jail of Gwadar, heirless. The grave of Mir Ismaheel Baloch
is situated near the Mountain of Batal Gwadar, constructed by Mir
Ismaheel Baloch himself during life. He died in 873 Hijri.
In 1783, the
Khan of Kalat
Khan of Kalat
Mir Noori Naseer Khan Baloch granted
Gwadar to Taimur Sultan, the defeated ruler of
Muscat. When the sultan subsequently retook Muscat, he was to
continue his rule in
Gwadar by appointing a wali (or "governor"). This
wali was then ordered to subjugate the nearby coastal town of Chah
Bahar (now in Iran). The
Gwadar fort was built during
whilst telegraph lines were later extended into the town courtesy of
the British. In the middle of the 18th century, Mir Noori Naseer Khan
Gwadar and its surrounding areas after defeating the
Gichki Baloch tribe and included it in the Kalat Khanate. However,
realizing that maintaining control of the area will be difficult
without the support of the Gichkis, Mir Nasir entered into an
agreement with the local Gichki Chief, which allowed the Gichkis to
maintain administrative control of the area, in return for furnishing
half the collected revenues to Kalat, this arrangement continued till
1783. When Saiad
Sultan fell out with his brother, the ruler of
Muscat, and asked for help, Mir Noori Naseer Khan handed over Gwadar,
as part of his share of revenues, to Saiad
Sultan for his maintenance
with the understanding that the area be returned to Kalat, when Saiad
Sultan acquires the throne. Saiad
Sultan ascended to the throne of
Muscat in 1797 but never returned
Gwadar enclave to Kalat. The ensuing
struggle between the heirs of the
Khan of Kalat
Khan of Kalat for
possession of Gwadar, allowed the British to intervene. The British
after extracting concessions from the
Sultan for the use of the area
facilitated Muscat to retain Gwadar. Later on, the British claimed
that the area was granted to the
Sultan by Mir Nasir, however, local
accounts and the declassified documents of that time challenge this
claim. From 1863 to 1879
Gwadar was the headquarters of a British
Assistant Political Agent.
Gwadar was a fortnightly
port of call for the British India Steamship Navigation Company’s
steamers and included a combined Post &
Sultan was the sovereign of
Gwadar until negotiations were
held with the government of
Pakistan in the 1950s.
Makran acceded to
Pakistan and was made a district – Gwadar
then, was not included in Makran. In 1958,
Gwadar and its surrounding
areas were reverted by Maskat to Pakistan. It was given the status of
a Tahsil of
Makran district. It was Feroz Khan Noon's regime when
Gwadar took place and it is propagated that Akbar
Bugti, as minister of state for defence, was part of negotiations. On
July 1, 1977,
Makran District was upgraded into a division and was
divided into three districts of
Turbat (Kech since 1994–95), Panjgur
On 8 September 1958,
Pakistan purchased the
Gwadar enclave from Oman
for 5.5 billion Rupees (equivalent to US$1.1 billion in 2015 dollars).
The Agreement had two important clauses: (1) All
form a military recruitment source for Oman; as a result, Balochis
constitute a major part of
Omani forces, and (2) the resources of
Gwadar would be further developed. Most of the money for the purchase
came from donations, with Prince Karim Agha Khan, the greatest
contributor, while the remainder was paid through tax revenue. At the
Gwadar was a small and underdeveloped fishing village with a
population of a few thousand. The Pakistani government integrated
Balochistan province on 1 July 1977 as the district
headquarters of the newly formed
Gwadar District. In 1993, the
Pakistan formally conceived the plan to develop Gwadar
into a major port city with a deep-sea port and to connect it with
Pakistan's highway and rail networks. On 22 March 2002, the Government
Pakistan began construction of
Gwadar Port, a modern deep-sea port,
Phase I of which was completed in March 2007.
Gwadar Port was
inaugurated on 20 March 2007.
Gwadar underwent major development from 2002 to 2007. In 2002,
Pakistan's National Highway Authority (NHA) began construction of the
Makran Coastal Highway linking
Gwadar with Karachi
via Pasni and
Ormara and onwards with the rest of the National
Highways of Pakistan, which was completed in 2004. In 2003, the Gwadar
Development Authority was established to oversee the planning and
Gwadar Industrial Estate Development
Authority was established to promote industrial activities in mega
port city of Gwadar. In 2004, Pakistan's NHA began construction of
the 820-km long M8 motorway linking
Ratodero in Sindh
province via Turbat, Hoshab,
Khuzdar and onwards with the
rest of the Motorways of Pakistan. In 2006, the
Authority conceived, developed and adopted a 50-year Master Plan for
Gwadar. In 2007, the Civil Aviation Authority of
4,300 acres (17 km2) to construct a new greenfield airport, the
Gwadar International Airport
Gwadar International Airport 6,000 acres (24 km2), at an
estimated cost of Rs. 7.5 billion.
Pakistan Economic Corridor
China has a great strategic interest in Gwadar. In 2013, the
China Overseas Port Holdings Limited acquired Gwadar
Port. The port is strategically important for
China as sixty
percent of China's oil comes from the
Persian Gulf by ships traveling
over 16,000 kilometres in two to three months, confronting
pirates, bad weather, political rivals, and other risks up to its only
commercial port, Shanghai.
Gwadar will reduce the distance to a mere
5000 kilometres and also serve round the year.
China has been instrumental in design of the project.
providing approximately 80% of the cost of the port in the shape of
grants and soft loans. Over 500 Chinese workers have
worked on the project on a 24-hour basis to complete the port setup.
There are still a large number of Chinese workers and engineers
working on the project.
China is setting up a dry port at the
China border to take advantage of shorter route to sea
through Gwadar.
China paid US$360 million to Pakistan
for expansion and an upgrade for all weather trafficability of
Karakoram Highway linking
Pakistan with China. The contract has been
awarded to Frontier Works Organization, who has also started the
project. Feasibility and engineering studies to connect
Gwadar through a pipeline and railway track have already
China is heavily dependent on
Persian Gulf oil which passes through
the Strait of Malacca all the way through the Indian and Pacific
Oceans. Once the oil reaches China's east coast ports, it is
transported thousands of miles inland to western China. The Gwadar
Karakoram Highway (KKH) route is sometimes alleged to be safer,
cheaper and shorter than transporting the oil by ocean tanker.
However, research suggests that transporting oil from
Gwadar to China
would be very expensive, would encounter numerous logistical
difficulties such as mountainous terrain, earthquakes, disputes with
India, and potential terrorist attacks, and would barely make any
impact on China's overall energy security.. Chinese goods flowing
in the opposite direction may be able to find an easier, shorter and
secure route to the Middle East, increasing trade, but this remains to
be seen. The Government of
Pakistan has committed to providing a base
China in Gwadar. This will not only help secure
Gwadar but also
China relations to new heights. Although some
analysts claim that
China intends to establish a naval presence at
Gwadar, others argue that
China will be cautious about such a
development. A Chinese military presence in
Gwadar may provoke a
significant reaction from both the United States and India.
Gwadar is located on a narrow and sandy isthmus which connects the 480
Gwadar Promontory to the
Fishing boats in
Gwadar East Bay with the Koh-e-Mehdi Hills in the
Gwadar is situated on the southwestern
Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan
Gwadar District of
Balochistan province. Like
Ormara further east,
Gwadar is situated on a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula forming
two almost perfect, but naturally curved, semicircular bays on either
side. The city is situated on a narrow and sandy 12 kilometers long
isthmus which connects the Pakistani coast to rocky outcroppings in
the Arabian sea known as the
Gwadar Promontory, or Koh-e-Batil, which
reach an altitude of 480 feet and extends seven miles east to west
with a breadth of one mile. The 800 foot wide isthmus upon which
Gwadar is located separates the two almost perfect semicircular bays
from one another. The western bay is known as the Paddi Zirr, and is
generally shallow with an average depth of 12 feet, and a maximum
depth of 30 feet. To the east of the isthmus is the deepwater Demi
Zirr harbor, where the
Gwadar Port was built.
The area north of the city and
Gwadar Promentory is flate and
generally barren. The white clay Koh-e-Mehdi (also known as
Jabal-e-Mehdi) is a notable exception, and rises sharply from the
plans to the northeast of Gwadar. The Koh-e-Mehdi features a two
discernible peaks, with a height of 1,360 and 1,375 feet, and is
approximately 4 miles wide and features sharp cliffs that drop
precipitously into the Arabian Sea. Following an earthquake in
September 2013 a small island called
Zalzala Jazeera ("Earthquake
Island") formed approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) off the
The population of the city has risen to approximately 85,000 as of
2014. Generally, Gwadar’s population of primarily Baloch
Main article: Climate of Gwadar
Gwadar has a hot desert climate (Köppen BWh), characterised by little
precipitation and high variation between summer and winter
temperatures. The oceanic influence keeps the temperature lower in
summer and higher in winter as compared to the inland. The mean
temperature in the hottest month (June) remains between 31 °C
and 32 °C. The mean temperature in the coolest month (January)
varies from 18 °C to 19 °C. The uniformity of temperature
is a unique characteristic of the
Makran Coastal region. Occasionally,
winds moving down the
Balochistan plateau bring brief cold spells,
otherwise the winter is pleasant. In Gwadar, winters are shorter than
Gwadar is situated outside the monsoon belt, it
receives light monsoon showers in summer (June–August). However, in
Western Disturbance can cause heavy rainfall. Annual rainfall
is only 100 mm (3 inches). In June 2010,
Gwadar was lashed
Cyclone Phet with record-breaking rains of 372 mm and winds up
to 75 mph.
Climate data for Gwadar, Pakistan
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Gwadar serves the headquarters for both
Gwadar District and Gwadar
Gwadar Tehsil is administratively subdivided into five union
Gwadar is divided into 5 union councils, which are further subdivided
Mohallah Zahoor Shah
Mohallah Karim Bakhsh
Mohallah Shahdu Band
Mohalla Mir Abdul Ghafoor
Gwadar is located across the mouth of the
Persian Gulf from the
Gwadar's location and history have given it a unique blend of
cultures. The Arabic influence upon
Gwadar is strong as a consequence
Omani era and its close proximity to the Arabian peninsula.
The legacy of the Omanis is observed in some of the local population
who can trace their lineage to
Zanj slaves, who
settled in the town during
Omani rule. Remnants of
Oman era buildings
can also be found in the city.
The port of
Gwadar can provide
China a Listening Post to Observe the
Indian naval activities around the
Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden.
Central Asia and South Asia, encompassing the Caspian Region, Central
Afghanistan and Iran, and the energy-rich ‘lake’
called the Caspian Sea, is a significant region because of its huge
monetary prospective and geographically vital positioning, which has
formed the region as a centre piece in the international arena.
Iran has also declared support for the development of
Gwadar and its
Much of Gwadar's economy is based on artisanal fishing.
Gwadar's economy has, in the past, been dependent mostly on fishing.
Its economy, however, is undergoing rapid transformation as a small
fishing village is being transformed into a major port city of
Pakistan with improved communication links with the rest of Pakistan.
In 1993, the Government of
Pakistan commenced a feasibility study for
the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar. On 22 March 2002, the
Pakistan began construction of
Gwadar Port, a modern
deep-sea port, the first phase of which was completed in December 2005
and the second in March 2007.
Gwadar Port became fully operational in
December 2009. The 1400 km
Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline
Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline (TAP) from
Gwadar (Pakistan), a long-dormant project that would
pump Turkmen natural gas to markets in South Asia, may finally be
poised to begin at a cost of $3 billion.
Gwadar Free Zone
The construction on a $2 billion 10-square kilometre tax exempt
industrial zone began on June 20, 2016. The zone includes a 300MW
plant exclusive for the industrial zone.
Gwadar International Airport
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infrastructure, $360m for coal plant, $140m for Eastbay Expressway,
$100m for hospital, $130m for breakwaters, $27m for dredging. Sum of
figures = $1.153 billion
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