Recently, it has been announced that Gwadar will be the capital of southern Balochistan. There may be realistic objectives that the military rulers are aiming to achieve in declaring Gwadar as the capital of southern Balochistan or this may be a decoy for a hidden agenda.
In political meanings, the word capital means the city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative center of a country or region. No part of this definition applies to Gwadar being the capital of southern Balochistan. There is no region named southern Balochistan. Gwadar is neither a country nor a province. It is a district in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. Various regions of Pakistani administered Balochistan politically and geographically are called Kachch Gandawa, Turan, Rakhshan, and Makuran. Then what are the objectives of coining such terminology or announcing such a measure?
- The nearest logical conclusion from this initiative could be the beginning of the division of Balochistan either into two or three parts (southern, central, and eastern Balochistan). Eating a cake in piecemeal is easier and tastier than gulping the whole thing. Divide and rule is a time-tested formula adopted by occupying forces throughout history. If it is the real aim for declaring Gwadar as the capital of southern Balochistan then it will give a dividend to the military establishment. With the division of Balochistan, there will be more army bases, more funds for the army, more army-controlled politicians and assemblies. Many observers believe that this declaration might be a feeler to gauge the reaction of the Baloch. There might be some demonstrations against this initiative, protest meetings and to an extreme extent, there might be a general strike call. With the only functioning Baloch nationalist party, BNP not in a position to launch a formidable resistance campaign against this divisive plan, political opposition will not be a deterrent for the establishment.
- With the announcement of Gwadar as the pivotal part of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), the army officers through proxies bought nearly 90 percent of the lands in the Gwadar district. Commercial and residential projects were made on paper and widely advertised. With falsified advertisements on national, European, and American media projecting Gwadar as the future Dubai, the Pakistani expatriate community was lured to buy thousands of plots and hundreds of acres of land at exuberant prices. However, despite arranging seminars and conferences on the future glories of Gwadar, the army could not find enough clients for most of their landed possessions in the district. Some of the observers watching the moves of establishment in Balochistan believe that it could be a ploy to entice buyers of land as with this announcement the prices of land are bound to rise for some weeks.
- Some observers also hypothesize that, as the burden of paying the interests on state loan is now unbearable for the state, this might be a plan to lease out a separated Gwadar district to the Chinese as a naval base in place of loan payment. However, this is not conceivable taking into account the interests of western powers in the region. Pakistan is mainly indebted to the IMF which is a political tool of the western powers. Recently, the Pakistani cabinet approved a bill to be presented in the assembly granting the IMF the right to collect taxes and make the annual budget for the country. The geographical location of Gwadar did not allow the western powers or India to digest the presence of a Chinese naval base and industrial complex at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Allowing Pakistan to lease out Gwadar to the Chinese means the surrender of the whole region to them. Oil is still the main source of energy for western industrial nations and they can not afford to give control of the oil route to the Chinese.
So, what is planned for Gwadar district? Coming months are important to know the real ambitions and strategies of the military establishment of Pakistan regarding Gwadar district.