Gwadar is a developing port city on the southwestern Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan. It is the district headquarters of Gwadar District in Balochistan province and has a population of approximately 50,000.
Gwadar is strategically located at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is the location of Gwadar Port, a newly built strategic warm-water, deep-sea port.
Gwadar is one of the few planned cities in Pakistan (others being Faisalabad (formerly Lyallpur), Jauharabad and Islamabad), which have been developed from scratch under an urban master plan.
The Makran region surrounding Gwadar was occupied by an ancient Bronze age people which settled in the few oases. It later became the Gedrosia region of the Achaemenid Persian empire. It is believed to have been conquered by the founder of the Persian empire, Cyrus the Great. The capital of the satrapy of Gedrosia was Pura, which is thought to have been located near the modern Bampûr, in Iranian Balochistan. During the homeward march of Alexander the Great, his admiral, Nearchus, led a fleet along the modern-day Makran coast and recorded that the area was dry, mountainous, and inhabited by the “Ichthyophagoi” (or “fish eaters”), an ancient Greek rendering of the ancient Persian phrase “Mahi khoran” (which has itself become the modern word “Makran”). After the collapse of Alexander’s empire the area was ruled by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander’s generals. The region then came under “local rule” around about 303 BC.
The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium until the Arab-Muslim army of Muhammad bin Qasim captured Gwadar in 711 A.D. and over the intervening (and nearly equivalent) amount of time the area was contested by various powers, including the Mughals (from the east) and the Safavids (from the west).
The Portuguese captured, sacked and burnt Gwadar in 1581, and this was then followed by almost two centuries of local rule by the various Balochi tribes. The city was visited by Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis in 1550s and mentioned in his book Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557. According to Seydi Ali Reis, the inhabitants of Gwadar were Baloch and their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar.
In 1783, the Khan of Kalat granted suzerainty over Gwadar to Taimur Sultan, the defeated ruler of Muscat. When the sultan subsequently retook Muscat, he was to continue his rule in Gwadar by appointing a wali (or “governor”). This wali was then ordered to subjugate the nearby coastal town of Chah Bahar (in modern-day Iran). The Gwadari fort was built during Omani rule, whilst telegraph lines were later extended into the town courtesy of the British.
On 8 September 1958, Gwadar enclave was purchased by Pakistan from Oman for U.S. $3 million and became a part of Pakistan with effect from 8 December 1958. At the time, Gwadar was a small and underdeveloped fishing village with a population of a few thousand.
The Government of Pakistan integrated Gwadar into Balochistan province on 1 July 1977 as the district headquarters of the newly formed Gwadar District.
In the 1993, the Government of Pakistan formally conceived the plan to develop Gwadar into a major port city with a deep-sea port and connect it with Pakistan’s highway and rail networks. On 22 March 2002, the Government of Pakistan began construction of Gwadar Port, a modern deep-sea port, the first phase of which was completed in December 2005. Gwadar Port became operational in December 2009.
In 2002, Pakistan’s National Highway Authority began construction of the 653 km-long Makran Coastal Highway linking Gwadar with Karachi via Pasni and Ormara and onwards with the rest of the National Highways of Pakistan, which was completed in 2004.
In 2003, the Gwadar Development Authority was established to oversee the planning and development of Gwadar. In 2004, Pakistan’s National Highway Authority began construction of the 820-km long M8 motorway linking Gwadar with Ratodero in Sindh province via Turbat, Hoshab, Awaran and Khuzdar and onwards with the rest of the Motorways of Pakistan.
In 2006, the Gwadar Development Authority conceived, developed and adopted a 50-year Master Plan for Gwadar.
In 2007, the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan acquired 4,300 acres to construct a new greenfield airport, the New Gwadar International Airport, on 6,000 acres, at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.5 billion.
Gwadar is situated on the southwestern Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan in Gwadar District of Balochistan province. Like Ormara further east, Gwader is situated on a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula forming two almost perfect but naturally curved semicircular bays on either side, namely the Gwadar West Bay and Gwadar East Bay. Gwadar is largely flat barren land with two hills, the Koh-e-Batil (maximum height 449 ft.) at the head of the hammerhead peninsula and Koh-e-Mehdi (maximum height 1,112 ft.) to the east of the city.
Main article: Climate of Gwadar
Gwadar is 0–300 meters above sea level and is mainly dry, arid and hot. The oceanic influence keeps the temperature lower in summer and higher in winter as compared to the interior. The mean temperature in the hottest month (June) remains between 31°C and 32°. The mean temperature in the coolest month (January) varies from 18°C to 19°C. The uniformity of temperature is a unique characteristic of the Makran Coastal region. Occasionally, winds moving down the Balochistan plateau bring brief cold spells, otherwise the winter is pleasant. In Gwadar, winters are shorter than summers. Although Gwadar is situated outside the monsoon belt, it still receives light monsoon showers in summer. However, in winter, Western Disturbance can cause heavy rainfall. Annual rainfall is only 100mm (3 inches). In June 2010, Gwadar was lashed by Cyclone Phet with record-breaking rains of 372 mm and winds up to 75 mph.
Gwadar is the district headquarters of Gwadar District and the tehsil (subdistrict) headquarters of Gwadar Tehsil. Gwadar Tehsil is administratively subdivided into five Union councils, three of which form Gwadar city, these are: • Gwadar Northern
• Gwadar Central
• Gwadar Southern
Gwadar’s location and history have given it a unique blend of cultures. The Arabic influence upon Gwadar is strong as a consequence of the Omani era and its close proximity to the Arabian peninsula. The legacy of the Omanis is observed in the local Makrani population who can trace their lineage to Zanj slaves and free men (Afro Arabs), who have settled in the town during Omani rule. They have an Arab dance and music called Liwa which is also performed in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Strategic Importance Of Gwadar Port
Gwadar is strategically located on the western end of Baluchistan coast on the opposite end of the Gulf of Oman which is an important route for oil tankers bound for Japan and western countries out of Gulf.
Since outflow of goods from western China and Central Asia reaching Gwadar will pass through this overland trade route, Pakistan could earn millions of dollars a year in terms of port and cargo handling charges and also as freight charges for import cargoes and export goods.
The Map shows the strategic importance of Gwadar Port.
•The blue line shows the sea lines communications to and from Gwadar Port.
•If Gwadar Port fully operates, Gwadar Industrial Estate will groom more rapidly.
•Gwadar being the natural deep sea port has an ability to berth Oil Bunkers and Mother ships.