Currently, Gwadar Port Authority and Gwadar
Development Authority, are being instituted by the government to
lookafter third port and the second port city of the country. Like
Karachi Port and Port Qasim, the forthcoming port is also to have a
federally administered status, it is learnt.
The economic experts are pinning great significance
on this newly developed port city having potentials to change the
economic fate of the province of Balochistan as well as the country as a
whole due to its strategic significance.
This prestigeous project of port city before coming
into being, had to pass through some interesting developments which were
revealed by a signed letter written to the federal government by late
Haji Mohammad Iqbal Baloch in 1950.
Gwadar originally belong to Pakistan geographically
as well as historically was under administration of Oman.
The efforts made by Haji Iqbal Baloch in drawing the
attention of the then authorities towards the state of affairs in Gwadar
and to bring it back to the original status of its administration under
Pakistan government are revealed in that letter possed by his son Ahmed
Baloch running his business in Karachi.
Haji Iqbal Baloch had started his business from
Gwadar at a small scale. The honest and untiring efforts helped him not
only to be an author of a success story in business but his services
were acknowledge by the people of Karachi as well by honouring him as
"City Father" consecutively for two years in 1957-58.
President Ayub Khan in recognition of his services
awarded him "Tamgha-i-Khidmat in 1967.
Following is the story of Gwadar narrated by Haji
Iqbal Baloch in his letter to the federal government in 1950:
Confronted by numerous urgent problems demanding
immediate and undivided attention that arose in the wake of partition,
Pakistan has so far paid little or no heed to several other issues which
though comparatively less important have nevertheless to be tacked soon.
One such problem relates to the future of Gwadar, a
territory in the possession of the Arab Sultan of Muscat and Oman
situated on the Mekran Coast in South Balochistan.
Both from the point of view of its geographical
position and historical and cultural back ground, Gwadar is an integral
and inseparable part of the state of Mekran.
GATE OF WIND
The word Gwadar is a combination of two balochi words
"Guad" and "Dar" meaning the "Gate of
Wind". It situated between the Mekran ports of Pasni and Jiwani,
the terrority has no defined boundaries. The question of its boundaries
had been a bone of contention between the Ruler of Kalat State and the
Sultan of Muscat long before the partition of the Indian sub-continent.
But inspite of apparent efforts to find solution, the question remaind
unsolved. Roughly the boundaries extend in the north to an area of about
8 to 10 miles and ends near a place called Phuleri, having a total
population of approximately 14,000. Gwadar comprises a sea town of that
name, two other minor ports and number of small villages scattered over
an area called Nagore.
The Southern part of Gwadar is a T-shaped strip of
land about five miles long and half to one mile wide projecting from the
main coast in the North into the Arabian Sea and ending in the south
with a six to seven hundred feet high reef called "Koh-e-batail".
The reef which is about 9 miles in length and half to one mile in width
is responsible for the formation of the coast and west bays. The top of
the reef contains a catchment area with an anicient masonary dam
supposed to have been constructed by the Portugese. The dam is a fine
example of ancient engineering and workmanship. The huge blocks of stone
used in it's construction and nicely carved in rectangular shape with
dovetail arrangements to hold them firmly. There is no evidence of
cement or some other material having been used in its construction.
NATURAL SEA PORT
The town of Gwadar with a total population of about
8,000, is a natural sea port situated on the east bank of east bay on a
sandy but hard soil dotted by tall date-palm trees which present a
picturesque sitght. Most of the buildings are made of mud only. Wells
dug in the norrowest bolt of the projected strip provide the only source
of water supply to the town, which has a temperate climate and is
considered one of the healthiest spots among the coastal towns of the
Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Muscat and Oman. The indigenus produce is
fish, which is famous both for its quality and variety and constitutes
the main occupation of its habitants. After being salted and dried, the
fish is exported mostly to Colombo and partly to Hong Kong.
The other minor ports of Gwadar territory are small
fishing villages called Sur and Pishukan having a population of about
1500 and 2500 respectively. While the former is situated on the mouth of
the east bay about 15 miles from the town of Gwadar territory, the
latter is in the west bay at a distance of 25 miles by land. The rest of
the area called Nagore, consists of small scattered villages.
Gwadar was always a part of Mekran. About a century
ago the then ruler of Mekran alloted one of the Arab Sheikhs to take
refuge in the town because he was a holy man Seyed, who are held in
great esteem and respect by Muslims. Since it had remained in possession
of the Sultans of Muscat and Oman who until recently were paying a
nominal royalty to the Ruler of Mekran. In the later years, the Arabs
are said to have extended their hold with gradual encroachments
occupying some of the adjoining territory, which was lying waste and
The bulk of the population of Gwadar is of pure
Baloch origin and belong to the same stock as those living in the
hiterland of Mekran. They speak balochi language and call themselves
balochi. Their customs and habits as well as their mode of living are
the same as these of the people of Balochistan. There are no natural
barriers restricting intercourse between Gwadar and Mekran. The economic
and social life of the former is inseparably linked with that of the
latter. The people of Gwadar have own land and other property on the
other side of the border and have closest relationship with the people
The system of administration in Gwadar is not the
worst and the most antiquated type. There is hardly any organization for
maintenance of law and order. A wali or governor appointed by the Sultan
rules the place with iron hand and exercises absolute civil and criminal
powers. He is assisted in the performance of his duties by a Qazi and
about 30 Bedouins called "Askaris" or policemen. Disputes
between individuals are settled orally and in the arbitrary manner by
the Wali who often passes sentences of flogging and confinement to
There is a British Agency in Gwadar staffed by an
agent working directly under the British Consul at Muscat. His main
functins are to report events in Gwadar and the adjoinining areas and
also to look after the interests of the British subjects in that place.
He also tries civil and crimnal cases involving British subjects
Gwadar lacks all modern amenities such as sanitation
and medical aid.
Educational facilities are completely non-existant.
About a year or so ago, a primary school housed in a single room and
building was opened and is most inadequate to meet the local
SOURCE OF REVENUES
The only source of revenue of Gwadar is the customs
duty charged on goods imported via sea or land. In pre-war years, the
revenue from the customs was roughly Rs30,000 but it has now arisen upto
Rs5 lakh. This abnormal increase in attributable not to any increase in
the rates of duty but to the fact that duty is charged on the market
value of the imported goods. The absence of any regulated and controlled
market has led to terrible amount of black marketing and smuggling. In
1947, the cost of one bag of broken rice sold upto Rs200 while coarse
cloth, which was very much in demand in Kalat, Persian Mekran and parts
of Balochistan was sold at Rs4 per yard.
Since the outbreak of the last world war all
essential commodities were supplied on quota basis by the government of
India to the various Arab ports in the Persian Gulf. Due to scarcity of
foodstuffs and other essential articles in the adjoining countries of
Persian Gulf, most of the imported commodities imported for local
consumption were smuggled into other countries yielding huge profits to
Following the partition of the India-Pakistan
sub-continent, however, the quota system was discontinued through the
import of the Indian cotton piece goods continued as before. There was
an acute shortage of food in Persian Gulf ports. Tempted by the desire
to reap high profits, merchants of Gwadar, which has always served as a
distributing center for smuggled goods, offered tempting prices for
these articles to traders in Mekran.
Consequently large quantities of food grains supplied
by the government of Pakistan to Mekran started pouring into Gwadar.
Similarly rice from Karachi continued to be smuggled in large quantities
in fishing boats.
This illegal trade is not confined to foodgrains only
but also extends to a number of other commodities. Articles, such as
cloth, sugar, gold, matches and cigarettes imported into Gwadar and
charged at a lower rate of duty are smuggled into Pakistan territory via
Mekran as well as Karachi, thus depriving Pakistan government of a
considerable amount of customs revenue. In view of unrestricted
inercourse between Gwadar and the bordering areas both by sea and land
and in the absence of any check on the boundaries, it is practically
impossible to put an end to this illegal business.
In view of the facts mentioned above and in
consideration of vital strategic position occupied by Gwadar, the
Government of Pakistan would be well advised to give its closest
attention to this problem and take immediate steps to restore Gwadar to
Mekran to which it rightfully belongs.