Gwadar Port: A step towards sustainable development.
By: Haleema Asad
BUIC- Faculty of Social Sciences in collaboration with Maritime Study Forum (MSF) organized a one-day seminar on the importance of Gwadar Port for Pakistan. The conference took place on Monday 8th of April at International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI). They discussed multiple challenges, opportunities Pakistan will face with the finalization of the Port. Moreover, problems that could or would arise were discussed and their solutions.
The guest speaker of the following conference was Dr. Azhar Ahmed, Head of Department, Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad. He discussed the highlights of his book; ‘Gwadar Port: Pakistan in Transition’ explaining the complexities that may be caused within our country or a dilemma that could arise with allied countries. In addition, he also stated how it could benefit our country (a step towards eradication of unemployment) and instigate improved relations’ with neighboring and other sovereign and democratic states.
However, unfortunately, Gwadar Port has left Pakistan with an increased financial tumult. With eventual loans pending from China, and previous pressing loans from IMF and World Bank, how much can sustainable development goal such as the foundation of Gwadar Port sustain the troubled economy? What about the disturbed society of fisherman whose voices have been ignored and the upheaval the Port has brought to their lives? And the environment that will no doubtlessly be tarnished in the ongoing development project?
Dr. Azhar replied to these questions in an interview: indicating how the first priority economically should be fulfilling the loans owed to the IMF and World Bank. “With Gwadar Port running, we will be able to maintain a better economic standing to pay of loans taken from China and other countries. After which we will be able to develop our own country.”
Secondly, the government is conducting its level best to include the community of people near the Port to play an active role in it. Yes, the societies are being disturbed but they are managing daily life. In addition, the government hopes to provide a large range of job opportunities as not only a way to appease the local folk but, also to take a step in solving the ever-increasing unemployment issue.
Lastly, in concerns to the environment; “Sacrifices must be made for any type of development to take place”. Dr. Azhra enforced in this statement that the environment plays a vital role in any function of life. That plans should have been made beforehand (with the help of environmental scientists and geologists) for the conservation of vegetation, land and marine life traumatized by the unfolding events of human development.