IT was during previous government of PML (N) that practical work on multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not only started but several important infrastructure projects such as those of power and road were also completed in their tenure.
Hence, expectations are high that since the party is once again back in power, pace of work on the project will see rapid acceleration.
It is also expected that once complete operation of Gawadar port starts it would accrue real economic benefits.
Addressing a ceremony in Karachi on Saturday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also admitted that Pakistan’s economic future is linked to the success of CPEC with Gwadar Port as an important component.
The PM is absolutely right in his assertion, as ports undeniably constitute an important economic activity in coastal areas.
The higher the throughput of goods and passengers year-on-year, the more infrastructure, provisions and associated services are required which ultimately bring varying degrees of benefits to economy and to the country.
Ports are also important for support of economic activities in the hinterland since they act as a crucial connection between sea and land transport.
As a supplier of jobs, ports do not only serve an economic but also a social function. In terms of load carried, seaway transportation is the cheapest and most effective transportation system compared to other systems.
Industries require a safe and cheap means of exporting finished goods and importing raw materials.
Hence majority of industries in the world are located in coastal belts, in the vicinity of major ports.
These industries in turn, influence lives of the employees and indirect benefactors. The way ports of UAE and Singapore are immensely contributing to economies of their respective countries is before everybody and we have no doubt in saying that given its strategic location and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, Gawadar deep sea port also has the potential to become one of the busiest ports in the region.
The strategic importance of Gwadar lies because of its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz (connecting Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman).
More than twenty percent of world’s oil passes and more than seventy percent of world trade passes through it every day.
Hence, Gawadar with right kind of interventions can emerge a key port that should not be seen in the context of a competitor rather it would supplement regional trade.
Given the macroeconomic challenges faced by Pakistan, Gawadar port and industrialisation there is a low hanging fruit that can be plucked at the earliest considering its prospect of international connectivity and suitable cost of transportation.
Without wasting any further time, there is a dire need to address problems faced by Gawadar.
A state of the art infrastructure needs to be established there, which attracts international traders and foreign businessmen to this land. In the context of Gawadar port, role of Pakistan Navy has also gained far more significance.
PM Shehbaz Sharif, at the Karachi ceremony, also stressed the need for a strong and vibrant Navy than ever before because of growing blue economy, marine security and strategic defence.
It is a matter of satisfaction that Pakistan Navy has always lived up to the occasion. It has adopted a multi-pronged approach to deal with prevailing challenges such as beefing up security at Gwadar Port, conducting security patrols and coastal exercises, enhancing maritime domain awareness and engaging law enforcement agencies.
It is really important to lace naval force with all the necessary equipment and latest weaponry system as safe and secure maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region in general and the Arabian Sea in particular is very important to make Gawadar Port a success model.
Our enemy will never refrain from its ploys to undermine this process. Hence we have to further strengthen our naval force by ensuring availability of necessary resources to it in order to foil evil designs of the enemy.