Why are local Balochis not being involved in the development of Gwadar?

Development in the port city of Gwadar is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Construction is currently being carried out on some key installations in and around the location including the city’s international airport.

2019 is turning out to be the most important year in the history of this deep sea port, located on the south western coastal tip of Pakistan but some investors are asking a specific question regarding workforce. Why aren’t the local Balochi population being involved in Gwadar’s construction work?

What is China’s role in Gwadar?

To answer this question effectively, we have to look at the time when China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was formed. Pakistan handed over management of the port development to China. Although both countries will benefit hugely when development of Gwadar is complete, certain decisions are down to China alone and that includes workforce.

How many outside workers are in Gwadar?

If we look at Balochistan province as a whole, it is sparsely populated. Covering more than 347,000 square kilometres, it is the largest in terms of land area in the whole of Pakistan but that’s not the case if we look at the populace. Back in 2013, it was stated that some nine million people lived in the whole of Balochistan and, of that number, some five million were local Balochis.

As a point of interest, Pakistan’s population at the time was put down at 190 million and that’s an indication as to how thinned out the people of Balochistan happen to be. It’s also indicative of the relatively isolated location of Gwadar prior to the real start of development here in 2007 so there really wasn’t much of a ‘local population’ prior to that point.

Who contributes to the workforce in Gwadar?

With China managing the port, they have inevitably provided the majority of the workforce here and that’s understandable for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is some dissent among local Balochis to China’s involvement and that would lead to some natural reluctance among Chinese backed firms to undergo any extensive local recruitment.

Above all, China believe that they have the expertise and the numbers to complete the projects on time. It’s essential for all involved to hit deadlines and to keep the development moving so it is, perhaps, understandable that China would want to keep everything ‘in house’.

As far as investors are concerned, this is the best solution for building work in Gwadar. With China at the helm, they have control over deadlines and quality and they can ensure that new properties in the city can be purchased with confidence.

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