Resources Exploration Projects In Balochistan – OpEd


Balochistan is indeed an important province in Pakistan. It is the largest province in terms of land area, covering approximately 44% of Pakistan’s total land area. Balochistan shares borders with Iran to the west, Afghanistan to the north, and the Pakistani provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to the northeast and east, respectively. The province is strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Balochistan is significant for several reasons. The province is rich in natural resources, including natural gas, coal, copper, gold, and oil. It possesses significant potential for mineral exploration and development. 

Balochistan’s location makes it crucial for regional connectivity and trade. It serves as a gateway for trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the landlocked Central Asian countries. Balochistan is home to the deep-sea port of Gwadar, which is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Gwadar Port is expected to play a vital role in boosting regional trade and transforming Pakistan into a regional economic hub. Balochistan is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse ethnic groups, including the Baloch, Pashtun, Brahui, Hazara, and others. This cultural diversity contributes to the vibrant tapestry of Pakistan’s cultural landscape. The government of Pakistan has been actively working to address these challenges and promote stability in the province.

It is important to note that Balochistan, like other provinces in Pakistan, faces its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. Recognizing its significance, efforts are being made to promote development, infrastructure, and security in the province, in order to harness its potential for the benefit of its residents and the wider region. Development of Gwadar Port and potential of CPEC brings a strong economic foundation for future generations of Balochistan. The people of Gwadar are the main and fundamental stakeholder of Port City of Gwadar. Gwadar Free Zones (North and South) are established for the actualize Pakistan as an export oriented country 

The export initiative from Gwadar Port begins with the export of Gold and Copper of Reko Diq, giving socio-economic boost to the province of Balochistan. The e-Custom System will boost the technical side of the trade through Gwadar Port making it a high-functioning technical Port. Web-based Once Custom (WeBOC) will enhance commercial activity at the Gwadar Port accelerating industrialization and logistic services. 

Vocational training in various engineering disciplines with the objectives to develop and generate of technical know-how in the field of precision mechanics, instrument technology and die and mold method. Gwadar an international city will accommodate multiple communities where political rights of locals will have to be legislated. 

Gwadar Port is expected to play a vital role in the development of Balochistan province under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Gwadar is strategically located on the Arabian Sea coast in Balochistan and is being developed as a major deep-sea port. Under the CPEC framework, Gwadar Port is envisioned as a key hub for regional connectivity and trade. The development of Gwadar aims to transform it into a bustling commercial and economic center, attracting investments and fostering economic growth in the province and the wider region. Following are some ways in which Gwadar and CPEC are expected to contribute to Baluchistan’s development: –

Trade and Economic Activity: Gwadar Port provides a shorter trade route for landlocked Central Asian countries, creating opportunities for trade and economic cooperation. The port is designed to handle large cargo ships and is expected to facilitate transshipment activities, boosting regional trade and enhancing economic activities in Balochistan.

Industrial Zones: Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being established in Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan. These SEZs will attract local and foreign investments, promoting industrialization, job creation, and economic diversification. The industrial zones aim to attract industries such as manufacturing, logistics, and petrochemicals, creating employment opportunities for the local population.

Infrastructure Development: The development of Gwadar and CPEC involves significant infrastructure projects, including road networks, energy infrastructure, and the construction of an international airport. These infrastructure developments will not only enhance connectivity within Balochistan but also improve connectivity between Balochistan and other regions of Pakistan.

Energy Projects: Balochistan has significant energy potential, particularly in terms of natural gas and renewable energy sources. Under CPEC, various energy projects are planned in Balochistan, including coal-fired power plants, wind farms, and solar power projects. These projects aim to address the energy needs of the province and contribute to the national energy grid.

Job Creation and Socio-economic Benefits: The development of Gwadar and CPEC projects is expected to generate employment opportunities for the local population, reduce poverty, and improve the overall socio-economic conditions in Balochistan. The increased economic activities and infrastructure developments can lead to improved access to education, healthcare, and other basic services.

While Gwadar and CPEC offer significant development opportunities for Balochistan, it is important to ensure that the benefits are inclusive and sustainable, addressing the needs and aspirations of the local communities. The government of Pakistan and relevant stakeholders are working towards the balanced and equitable development of Balochistan under the CPEC framework. Gwadar Port to oversee the export of Gold and Copper from Reko Diq. Barrick Gold Company, $7 Billion will be invested in the mine which has the world’s largest under developed copper-gold deposits, over the next years. The company will invest $4 Billion in the first four years and $3 Billion in the following six years 

Gwadar Free Zones were established with the aim of the export to foreign countries and become a high- performing export-oriented country in the international trading landscape. The Free Zones of Gwadar also provide services for the supply of trade articles and manufacturing items to the local markets. The federal government is providing better opportunities to the youth of Balochsitan especially that of Gwadar to acquire modern education and technical skills under the CPEC. Gwadar also pays emphasis on the Technical Training Centres for Precision Mechanics and Instrument Technology, Gwadar is built for Rs 1200 Million. Three technical and vocational training centres are operational in Gwadar for the education and skill development of People of Balochistan; Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute Gwadar, Gwadar Institute of Technology. 

Shaikh Moazam Khan

Shaikh Moazam Khan is an Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs.

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