Let’s look into Gwadar our pride



Naveed Aman Khan

WHATEVER the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) maybe, whether western or eastern, it starts from China and ends in Gwadar. It’s obvious that building Gwadar can be a gigantic leap in the prosperity of Pakistan.The word Gwadar is derived from two Balochi words Gwat (Air) Darr (Door). Gwadar has been the centre of trade between the Indus Valley Civilization and Iraq for years. Alexander the Great ruled this city. Portuguese fleet, led by Vasco De Gama, tried to set the city on fire. Omanis ruled the city for years and during their tenure the Gwadar port was full of activity. Forts built by Omanis can be seen around the city even today. One can see huge billboards about Gwadar presenting sky touching buildings on them. Many times I have come across such boards in Gwadar and now even in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad.
Factually telling, apart from natural landscape and beaches, Gwadar has nothing. What to speak of university and Internet Gwadar even has no water, schools and hospitals. Is it or could it be a future mega city?Gwadar has no college for girls. The girls have no choice but to study in the boy’s college in the evening shift. So called future mega city does not even dream a university. It’ll be wrong to say that locals will have great jobs in future when the city hardly has a handful of university graduates. Not every family can afford to send their kids to Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad and for a girl, things are going to be tougher.Gwadar has a hospital but without specialist doctor and medicine. Even pain reliever is not available. In case of delivery no maternity facility is there. Ladies are taken to Karachi for maternity matters. Most of them expire on their way to Karachi. Tragically, no matter what ailment people suffer from, whether serious or not, are advised to have a proper check-up in Karachi.The water crisis is getting out of control at the moment.
People are dying of thirst. They need clean drinking water. Holy month of Ramadan is approaching. Temperature is rising drastically. People of Gwadar need water and electricity. Because of extreme weather people are getting sick. Even now, water available in the city is salty. To make matters worse, the tanker mafia is selling single tanker of water at extortionate price {fifteen thousand rupees!}. Majority of the people in Gwadar are fishermen. How can they afford such a high price of water when they earn around twenty thousand rupees a month? True, Gwadar has had water crisis in the past as well. With the increase in population, things are getting worse every year. Gwadarites have been hearing that millions are being spent on desalination plants from years but they haven’t tasted even a drop of water from these plants yet. How long will they keep praying to God for rain and mercy? Gwadar has been short of rains for the last five years. No dam water is available.
Kids in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad or any other city of Pakistan are in schools, ours stand with their mothers in never-ending queues carrying water containers in their hands, says Azhar Kalmati, a sensible young man of Gwadar. Unlike before, when ladies from my town remained at home, they are now required to leave. And that too, with their kids, adds Azhar Kalmati. Why? The reason is simple. More hands carry more water. This is so-called mega city of Gwadar. Many of the kids don’t even have proper shoes, while some of them have patches all around their uniforms. This reflects that they can’t afford. What harm have these innocent children of Gwadar ever done to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and other responsible authorities? Who is responsible for the miseries of these Pakistanis? Are residents of Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad more Pakistanis than those of Gwadar? Have they no fundamental human rights equal to the people of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad? Kids of Gwadar are from us. They are also our future.
Those depriving them of their rights or neglecting are criminals killing their own future. When will they realize that they are weakening their own roots? In such circumstances Gwadar cannot be called a future mega city. I don’t think it can even be called a city of around five hundred thousand Pakistanis. Gwadar has nothing that a city should have. For our basic necessities Gwadarites are forced to go to Karachi. If you are wondering what Gwadar is like? The one in media is a fictitious illusion. It is told that this economic corridor is to help us. I will not even bother asking how it will help. My next question is, when? There’s no question in the beauty of Gwadar. Its beaches are far better than any other in the country. Gwadar city is full of heart touching landscape. Here the sunset has a beauty of its own. The beaches of Gwadar are full of different seabirds, from seagulls to flocks of great white pelicans. And one finds the best seafood of the world here. Would Gwadar resemble the city in the billboards in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad ever? We shouldn’t wait for the CPEC for it to happen. It is the time the government of Pakistan should do something significant to improve the situation here. Let the governments benefit the people of Gwadar too without further waiting for China. Let’s make Gwadar mega city by our own. Let’s address miseries of Gwadar people on an emergency basis. Let’s make it our pride.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.

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