May 05 - 18, 2003



ASGHAR AZIZ SANJARANI is the founder president of Gwadar Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Sanjarani has gone through the mill by experiencing the harsh realities of life before reaching to this outstanding position in his career. Before entering the practical life, he carries an impressive career in the student politics. He has been the President and General Secretary of the Balochistan Students Organization (BSO) in Panjgore.
He started his career as the soldier by joining Maskat Army in 1972. He got his retirement in 1989. He returned to his homeland and started his own business in the petroleum sector and supplies from Panjgore in Balochistan. Currently, he is actively engaged to address the teething problems faced by the Chamber of Commerce at the International Port City of Gwadar.

PAGE: Currently, the government in collaboration with Chinese and other international donor agencies endeavoring to develop Gwadar Port, the second port city of Pakistan. Being the founder president of the first chamber of commerce at Gwadar how do you see the future of that newly developed Port City?

SANJARANI: In fact, the development of Gwadar as a port city is a pleasant surprise not only for myself but the entire population of the Mekran coast. Because there were unending talks and proposals and speeches about the development of Balochistan by the previous governments in the past right from the inception of this country. However, no government took initiative or went into practical steps except release of statements for public consumption alone. This is for the first time that practical steps have been taken by the present government for the development of the port in the real sense. It is expected that the development of this port city is destining to a glorious future not only for the people of that poverty-ridden part of the country but the entire country in general.

PAGE: There is an adverse impression about Balochistan that powerful tribal Sardars are the real irritants in the way of social and economic development. Otherwise the people of the province would prosperous due to plenty of natural resources. Do you think that tribal society would support development of the Gwadar Port?

SANJARANI: The impression about active tribal politics in Balochistan is correct to some extent, however, as far as the area of Mekran coast or Gwadar was concerned, the native people of this part of the country are patriot and do not follow tribal politics. Hence, Mekran coastal area and population is out of the influence of the tribal politics. People in that part of the country are happy with the development of the port and are attaching great hope for their social and economic prosperity with the growth of the port and the city in Gwadar.

In order to achieve this cherished goal, the authorities would have to take extra care to put an effective check against the people of vested interests who always sitting on their toes to grab the opportunities for their personal gains. It is highly important for the uninterrupted growth of Gwadar that justice should prevail and the rights of the deserving elements especially of the local population should be protected in the national interest.

PAGE: Is there any doubt in your mind that the rights of the deserving people of the area may not be looked after or being neglected?

SANJARANI: Hopefully not because the moral and social support of the local population plays the fundamental role in the success of any mega project. However, it is really painful that while the project was still in the initial stages, the real representatives of the future Special Economic Zone (SEZ) i.e. Gwadar are being neglected either inadvertently or intentionally.

For example, a highly representatively delegation led by Federal Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Shaukat Aziz visited Gwadar to witness the development process. The delegation comprised of the Chief Minister Balochistan, Federal Minister for Industries and representatives of the business community including President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). It is highly painful to see that the people who really devoted their time and energy to convert the dream of Gwadar port into a reality were ignored. Although I am the first official President of Gwadar Chamber of Commerce & Industry yet they did not bother to invite me to be present on that occasion. People like Sheikh Javaid, Chairman Export Processing and Free Zones Committee of the FPCCI and the Chief of the Investors Council at Karachi Export Processing Zone were also ignored. Sheikh Javaid carries special knowledge and experience about development of the Zones and his services have also been acknowledged by the World Free Zone Convention (WFZC). Such people are the assets of the country and the capability they posses need to be utilized in our own interests.