China took formal operational control of the Gwadar port on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast last month. Behram Baloch / AFP
China took formal operational control of the Gwadar port on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast last month. Behram Baloch / AFP

China has to keep the peace in Pakistan's Gwadar Port



China formally took over the operational control of the Gwadar Port in Pakistan's south-western Balochistan province during the first visit to Pakistan by China's premier, Li Keqiang, last month. Under a contract signed between the two countries in February this year, the port has been handed over to the China Overseas Ports Holding Company, which has purchased all the shares in Gwadar Port project from the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).

China has become the operator of the strategic port, which it has largely built and funded.

Pakistan plans to develop Gwadar Port City on the pattern of Dubai. The government of the newly elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has declared Gwadar as a duty-free port on the lines of Jebel Ali . If mega development projects are smoothly and timely materialised, Gwadar may turn into a city, which will be comparable with Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombo and Dubai.

Gwadar has a special significance with reference to its geo-strategic location and potential for development of trade links with the nations of the Central Asian Republics (Cars), Arabian Gulf and East Africa as well as north-western India. Gwadar port has land access to the whole of Asia and it has also easy sea access to the Gulf ports.

Islamabad and Beijing plan to link Gwadar in Balochistan with China's far western province of Xinjiang through several road and rail connectivity projects. Development activity in Balochistan and Xinjiang is expected to bring an economic bonanza for both countries.

Then there is a geographical proximity of Kashgar, western China's main city, with Gwadar, which is close to the Middle East and Central Asia. Trade through Gwadar port would cut thousands of kilometres off the distance to ship oil from the oil-rich regions to China.

No doubt, Gwadar port is commercially important for China, as it may help China to trade with the Central Asian and Gulf states. There are not two opinions about the potential of the Arabian Sea port that would enable China to gain access to Middle East for oil imports, which may be shipped to western China through Pakistan.

China direly needs port facilities that would ideally be in the proximity area of the Gulf yet be outside the sensitive Strait of Hormuz. Gwadar port provides China an alternative to the Strait of Malacca, through which 80 per cent of its oil imports flow.

China is expected to invest US$10 billion to make the strategically located port fully functional to serve as mother port of the region.

Security will be the biggest challenge for China, which plans to develop Gwadar as a gateway port for its western region.

Will China be able to secure energy and maritime routes through a port surrounded by the restive regions? The separatist movements in Balochistan and Xinjiang pose grave threats to the Chinese interests in Gwadar. The separatists may dampen the China's prospects for strategic access to energy-rich Central Asia through the Pakistan-China energy and trade corridor.

Balochistan reels from a separatist insurgency and sectarian violence. The Baloch separatists, who are engaged in a struggle against the Pakistani armed forces, are fighting for an independent Balochistan. Engaged in many development projects, the Chinese have been attacked several times in the province. In 2004, three Chinese engineers working on the seaport project were killed in a terrorist attack in Gwadar.

Terrorist activity may turn the whole scheme of developing Gwadar into a gateway port for western China upside-down. Beijing's ambitious plans for establishing trade and energy corridors are likely to be held hostage to the terrorist activity in Xinjiang and Balochistan and the port linking the two restive regions is likely to remain a commercial failure under the Chinese. Ironically, the terrorist incursions into western China could change the proposed trade corridor into a terror corridor putting billions of dollars of investment at stake.

One thing should be very clear: that it is not the development or foreign investment that will bring peace, but it is peace and stability that can bring foreign investment and development projects to fruition in Gwadar.

Gwadar is foreseen as the future Dubai of the subcontinent. As a free trade zone and a corridor to cars, Gwadar offers great economic opportunities to international investors.

The port has many natural advantages. It may emerge as a natural access port to Asia for trade and commerce. A road can connect it to the Iranian port of Chahbahar and thus to the Iranian road network. A road linkwith the RCD highway can give it access not only to the whole of Central Asia, but also south-western China. It is more economically feasible for China to have land access to Kashgar through Gwadar because of the Karakoram Highway.

It is, however, keeping the peace that is the real key to developing Gwadar into a new Dubai. It is because of peace and stability in Dubai that the head offices of a number of multinational companies are located there. More than 2,800 companies from more than 100 countries are based in Dubai.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan, published in May 2004

Spare

Profile

Company name: Spare

Started: March 2018

Co-founders: Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah

Based: UAE

Sector: FinTech

Investment: Own savings. Going for first round of fund-raising in March 2019

Children who witnessed blood bath want to help others

Aged just 11, Khulood Al Najjar’s daughter, Nora, bravely attempted to fight off Philip Spence. Her finger was injured when she put her hand in between the claw hammer and her mother’s head.

As a vital witness, she was forced to relive the ordeal by police who needed to identify the attacker and ensure he was found guilty.

Now aged 16, Nora has decided she wants to dedicate her career to helping other victims of crime.

“It was very horrible for her. She saw her mum, dying, just next to her eyes. But now she just wants to go forward,” said Khulood, speaking about how her eldest daughter was dealing with the trauma of the incident five years ago. “She is saying, 'mama, I want to be a lawyer, I want to help people achieve justice'.”

Khulood’s youngest daughter, Fatima, was seven at the time of the attack and attempted to help paramedics responding to the incident.

“Now she wants to be a maxillofacial doctor,” Khulood said. “She said to me ‘it is because a maxillofacial doctor returned your face, mama’. Now she wants to help people see themselves in the mirror again.”

Khulood’s son, Saeed, was nine in 2014 and slept through the attack. While he did not witness the trauma, this made it more difficult for him to understand what had happened. He has ambitions to become an engineer.

if you go

The flights

Fly to Rome with Etihad (www.etihad.ae) or Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dh2,480 return including taxes. The flight takes six hours. Fly from Rome to Trapani with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from Dh420 return including taxes. The flight takes one hour 10 minutes.

The hotels

The author recommends the following hotels for this itinerary. In Trapani, Ai Lumi (www.ailumi.it); in Marsala, Viacolvento (www.viacolventomarsala.it); and in Marsala Del Vallo, the Meliaresort Dimore Storiche (www.meliaresort.it).

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

'Brazen'

Director:+Monika Mitchell

Starring:+Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler

Rating: 3/5

The biog

Name: Salvador Toriano Jr

Age: 59

From: Laguna, The Philippines

Favourite dish: Seabass or Fish and Chips

Hobbies: When he’s not in the restaurant, he still likes to cook, along with walking and meeting up with friends.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

The biog

Favourite pet: cats. She has two: Eva and Bito

Favourite city: Cape Town, South Africa

Hobby: Running. "I like to think I’m artsy but I’m not".

Favourite move: Romantic comedies, specifically Return to me. "I cry every time".

Favourite spot in Abu Dhabi: Saadiyat beach

CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID

1st row
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2nd row
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-GP)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

3rd row
Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

4th row
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
Sergio Perez (Force India)

5th row
Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault)
Romain Grosjean (Haas)

6th row
Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
Esteban Ocon (Force India)

7th row
Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

8th row
Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)
Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

9th row
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
Lance Stroll (Williams)

10th row
Charles Leclerc (Sauber)
arcus Ericsson (Sauber)

MATCH DETAILS

Chelsea 4 

Jorginho (4 pen, 71 pen), Azpilicueta (63), James (74)

Ajax 4

Abraham (2 og), Promes (20). Kepa (35 og), van de Beek (55) 

THE SPECS

Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic

Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 518bhp

Torque: 625Nm

Speed: 0-100kmh 5.3 seconds

Price: Dh633,435

On sale: now

'Nope'

Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun
Rating: 3.5/5

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The lowdown

Badla

Rating: 2.5/5

Produced by: Red Chillies, Azure Entertainment 

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh, Tony Luke

Seemar’s top six for the Dubai World Cup Carnival:

1. Reynaldothewizard
2. North America
3. Raven’s Corner
4. Hawkesbury
5. New Maharajah
6. Secret Ambition

Eyasses squad

Charlie Preston (captain) – goal shooter/ goalkeeper (Dubai College)

Arushi Holt (vice-captain) – wing defence / centre (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Olivia Petricola (vice-captain) – centre / wing attack (Dubai English Speaking College)

Isabel Affley – goalkeeper / goal defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Jemma Eley – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Alana Farrell-Morton – centre / wing / defence / wing attack (Nord Anglia International School)

Molly Fuller – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Caitlin Gowdy – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Noorulain Hussain – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai College)

Zahra Hussain-Gillani – goal defence / goalkeeper (British School Al Khubairat)

Claire Janssen – goal shooter / goal attack (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Eliza Petricola – wing attack / centre (Dubai English Speaking College)

At a glance - Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020

Launched: 2008

Categories: Health, energy, water, food, global high schools

Prize: Dh2.2 million (Dh360,000 for global high schools category)

Winners’ announcement: Monday, January 13

 

Impact in numbers

335 million people positively impacted by projects

430,000 jobs created

10 million people given access to clean and affordable drinking water

50 million homes powered by renewable energy

6.5 billion litres of water saved

26 million school children given solar lighting

Match info

Liverpool 4
Salah (19'), Mane (45+2', 53'), Sturridge (87')

West Ham United 0