ISLAMABAD: A plethora of federal, provincial and local administrative structure is leading towards fragmentation of authority and hotchpotch governance in Gwadar city. In order to develop Gwadar as a thriving economic and port city, there is dire need to improve administrative and governance framework coupled with developing City-based economic development strategy, sharing the dividend of prosperity with the local population, and branding Gwadar as an economic city with a rich culture.
This was the crux of expert’s deliberation during the seminar titled “The Institutional and Urban Design of Gwadar City”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at Islamabad.
Naveed Iftikhar, Public Policy Advisor and Former Governance Specialist, Ministry of Finance, said that the relationship between a port and city reinforce each other’s growth and development and economic startups cities like Gwadar port provides a lot of economic dividends for the country such as employment.
While presenting the preliminary findings of his study on the institutional and urban design of Gwadar city he highlighted that ineffective governance in the port city is leading to lack of water, electricity and other basic municipal services. He said that insufficient resources for the development of the city, gross mismanagement of urban land-use and fear among the local fisherman and population about their future are the major challenges of the port city. Naveed proposed in his study that there is a need to improve local governance infrastructure, ensuring city’s revenue sustainability and international partnership for commercial dispute resolution.We need to preserve and promote the local identity, culture and heritage of Gwadar, he added.
Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director SDPI said CPEC is the fastest progressing programme under the overall Belt and Road Initiative, where several projects focused on better trade and investment integration through the Arabian Sea. He said that an expected increase in transit trade through Gwadar port is envisaged and Central Asian countries including Tajikistan have expressed the desire to utilize the potential of Gwadar for their food supplies.
He said that Iran has dubbed Gwadar and Chabahar as sister ports and hinted at expediting the efforts to cooperate in activities which enhance the potential of both ports. Dr Vaqar termed the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and job creation as ‘blue economy’ and urged Pakistan to fully utilize the benefits provided by the blue economy. “The activities under the blue economy, on their own have the potential to bring major economies together in the region and create economic interdependencies for peace in Baluchistan”, he added.
Amer Zafar Durrani, CEO Secure Global said that there is no single civic development in Gwadar city in last five years, whch shows the seriousness of the governments. He said that the city only requires a strong political commitment to achieve the potential economic dividends. Dr. Nadia Farooq, Freelance Economic Expert said that there is a dearth of research and debate on the socio-political and economic issues of Gwadar city. She said that there is ample research require and there is still a huge margin to bring productive changes in the governance model of the port city.