News Analysis |
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa laid the foundation of a water desalination plant in Gwadar on Sunday.
Speaking on the occasion, the COAS said that Balochistan’s progress is Pakistan’s progress.
The Gwadar District Authority said on Monday that the inauguration of a water desalination plant is an important step for peace and development in Balochistan. “This is a great initiative, and it’s a positive step toward resolving the problems of the people of Balochistan,” Deputy Commissioner of Gwadar Naeem Bazai said. “The people are tired of depending on rain water to meet their needs,” he further added.
The project was launched with the assistance of the governments of United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. It will provide 4.4 million gallons per day. The capacity will later be doubled to 8.8 million gallons of water per day. The desalination plant is a much needed venture as the land in and around Gwadar is arid and people have to go to far-flung areas to fetch water.
The COAS said that ongoing development projects which are part of the Khushal Balochistan programme would transform the lives of the people of the province
Gwadar district has an area of 12637 Sq. kilometers and a population of 263,514 while the population of Gwadar city is estimated to be 80,000. As part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and by extension, the Belt and Road mega-project, Gwadar is of pivotal important to both Pakistani and Chinese interests. It will not only serve as a hub of connectivity but is touted by many to become a port city that rivals Dubai. Thus, a water desalination plant was essential in guaranteeing the continued development of Gwadar port.
The port of Gwadar has an area of 64000 Sq. kilometers and has 3 multipurpose berths each of 200 meters and a 4.7 kilometer approach channel. Several other projects have already been launched, with some having been completed in Gwadar. These include Gwadar Eastbay Expressway and the Gwadar New International Airport. The first international shipment of good from China arrived at the port of Gwadar in November, 2016.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is an ambitious multi-billion dollar project and is a testament to the enduring friendship between China and Pakistan. The project, however, has also been heavily criticized in some circles. Western experts, such as Dr. Christine Fair, professor at Georgetown University, argue that CPEC and consequently, Gwadar port won’t live up to the hype surrounding it. They argue that the terms and conditions of loans under CPEC are such that Pakistan will find it difficult to repay them. A common refrain directed against CPEC was that Gwadar lacked adequate clean drinking water facilities. These concerns have been allayed now that Gwadar has a state of the art water desalination plant.
The Gwadar District Authority said on Monday that the inauguration of a water desalination plant is an important step for peace and development in Balochistan.
A report by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute predicts that CPEC would add two percentage points of annual growth to Pakistan’s GDP. Pakistan’s GDP growth rate clocked at 5.8% in 2017. Thus, CPEC will help Pakistan achieve a growth rate of up to %7.5. China itself has had double-digit growth rates for decades and has lifted eight hundred million people out of poverty within the span of a single generation. Such phenomenal growth rates are unprecedented in history. The experience that China has had in eliminating poverty and accelerating economic growth are now being imparted to Pakistan via the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The port of Gwadar will play a pivotal role in the economic corridor. A desalination plant, thus, will prove to be very significant.
The plant is set to be completed in six to eight months. Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the UAE ambassador to Pakistan, the director general of the Frontier Works Organisation and Commander Southern Command Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa were also present at its inauguration in addition to a large number of locals.
Highlighting the importance of the ongoing projects which are part of the Khushhal Balochistan programme, the army chief said that these would transform the lives of the people of the province.
The COAS said that ongoing development projects which are part of the Khushal Balochistan programme would transform the lives of the people of the province, adding that the Army was working in tandem with the civilian government to bring peace and prosperity to province of Balochistan.