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Gwadar becomes the center of attention as Asian Parliamentary Assembly begins

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News Analysis |

More than 100 parliamentarians from 28 different countries coming from Asia, Europe and Africa are convening in Gwadar to participate in the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA). The initiative has been taken by the Senate of Pakistan spearheaded by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in a bid to promote regional peace and expose Gwadar as a vital investment opportunity for international investors.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also lauded the effort that bringing together the parliamentarians of different countries is going to help foster close ties and working relations needed for the long-term cooperation and regional peace.

Multiple efforts have been made over the years and particularly after the inception of CPEC that the people of Balochistan are treated on the priority bases.

Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, while elaborating the impact of the conference, underlined the participation of several oil-producing nations such as Kuwait, UAE, and Saudi Arabia as the pivot to attract investors to the Gwadar port.

Gwadar, The Future Economic Hub

Gwadar has been repeatedly termed, and for all the right reasons, as the future economic hub for the country. It was the primary attraction for the Chinese to pour the multi-billion dollar investment into Pakistan for the short passage of their goods around the world.

Read more: Link Chabahar with Gwadar: Iran tells Pakistan

As the port will grow, the maritime traffic is going to exponentially increase resulting in the revenue flow for Pakistan. The incumbent governments have also been busy to make the world aware of the potential which the port possess and want all the relevant stakeholders on board.

The impact of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) will help restore the positive image of Pakistan which has been tarnished over the years. Especially after the placement of country on the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), large-scale efforts like these are necessary to help build the investor-friendly and peace-loving image of Pakistan.

Gwadar offers a lot of investment opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment. Recently, Saudi Arabia has shown interest in the establishment of an oil refinery at Gwadar.

It is very important for the long run interest that the economic interests of countries who have a say in the global affairs are pegged to Pakistan. For instance, multiple countries are vouching for a trade wavier with Iran, not because they are sympathetic to the efforts Iran has made with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but simply because the oil trade with Iran is beneficial for them.

Indirectly it is helpful for Iran if the countries manage to secure a waiver from the USA, as it will provide a breathing space for its economy. With CPEC, Pakistan has synched the interest of China with its own wellbeing but more stakeholders need to be taken on board.

Grievance Redressal for Balochistan

The fruits of economic activity at Gwadar port would be beneficial for the entire country in general but it is very important to address the needs of Balochistan first. Multiple efforts have been made over the years and particularly after the inception of CPEC that the people of Balochistan are treated on the priority bases.

Read more: CPEC: a corridor of prosperity or uncertainty?

A province which is most rich in the valuable energy and mineral resources has unfortunately remained impoverished over the years. It has been one of the main reasons for the volatile security situation and enhanced insurgency in Balochistan. As the benefits of government spending on the social wellbeing of people of Balochistan would start to seep in, the insurgency is bound to go down drastically.

Potential for Investment

Gwadar offers a lot of investment opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment. Recently, Saudi Arabia has shown interest in the establishment of an oil refinery at Gwadar. As the security situation and the image of the country will continue to get better, more investors are likely to tap the opportunity which offers a promising return. It would result in the job creation for the Pakistani workforce and overall the economic outlook of the country would improve.