Is it safe to visit Gwadar?

A regular question that many travellers and investors ask relates to safety in Gwadar: This is a booming city that has been likened to Dubai in terms of its potential growth but it makes sense to address what is a common query.

We accept that safety questions are raised in terms of Pakistan as a whole. With Gwadar becoming a more popular destination for investors, it’s natural that by extension, more discussion is going to take place on the subject.

Should I be concerned about security in Gwadar?

The city of Gwadar is important for both Pakistan and neighbouring China. It’s an integral part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and as such, it’s in the interests of both countries to try to ensure its safety. In fact, as we will see, CPEC plays a big role in the security elements of Gwadar.

When plans to fast track CPEC developments were announced in 2014, security in Gwadar began to increase from this point. Fortunately, both Pakistan and China quickly realised that they would need to ringfence the region in order to work for the common good. Almost immediately, Pakistan set up a new army task force in the region while hundreds of rebels surrendered arms.

China’s input began to build from 2016 when potential was created for Chinese naval forces to help with Gwadar’s security. Pakistan had continued with their own plans at the start of this year when the Pakistani task force TF-88 was set up. The new division was said to be equipped with drones, missile boats and aerial surveillance aircraft. By this point, two Pakistan warships were based at Gwadar but this was just the start of security developments in the region.

What’s the security position in Gwadar today?

Since 2017, the level of security in Gwadar has continued to increase. With maritime traffic on the rise, the TF-88 task force has been updated and improved while Pakistan has also introduced security personnel on land.

Currently, there are some 15,000 land based troops operating in Gwadar; they are here to maintain security along the Western Route and in Gwadar specifically. Since their arrival, test cargoes have passed through without incident.

Are there any available testimonials relating to security in Gwadar?

The safe passage of cargo is all well and good but what about the individual travelling to Gwadar? It’s a question that continues to appear on forums and well known travel sites as Gwadar continues to build. Questions were raised way back in 2009 and the Lonely Planet website still carries an archive of a busy discussion on the subject. More recently, Quora has also published a conversation about safety in Gwadar and the vast majority of comments in both cases are positive.

No-one can guarantee complete safety in any city, anywhere in the world but there are reasons why travellers to Gwadar can do so in peace of mind. Those actions, largely taken out by Pakistan show just how seriously the question is being addressed while appreciative comments by individual travellers back up the positive work here.

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