Balochistan to receive big slice of Chinese funds

Published: March 16, 2014

Commitment: $4.5b is the annual investment China has pledged over the next seven years. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

After taking operational control of the strategically important deep-sea port of Gwadar, China is focusing on poverty and militancy-stricken province of Balochistan, which will get a major chunk of funds worth $31 billion pledged by Beijing for energy and port expansion projects, sources say.

The government is working on a plan to expand Gwadar Port, which is part of an investment programme set by China for boosting economic activities in Balochistan.

“Of the total investment, Lahore-Karachi motorway, Gwadar Port expansion and integrated development of Gwadar will attract an investment of $11 billion,” a source said.

Gwadar Port has given western China access to the Arabian Sea, which has upset India and the US. Many western and Indian analysts believe that China has intentions to build naval bases there.

However, Chinese authorities insist that Gwadar Port will give western China access to oil supplies from the Gulf and will boost economic activities in Pakistan. Under a long-term plan, China is expected to lay oil and gas pipelines through Gwadar Port to meet its energy needs.

According to sources, the government has also handed over to Pakistan Army the task of providing fool-proof security to Chinese officials in Balochistan in a bid to address Beijing’s concerns and execute the investment plan in the province, which will get 38% of the funds.

In a meeting of the federal cabinet on February 25, it was announced that China had agreed to invest $4.5 billion annually over the next seven years in Pakistan. The premier described it as an unprecedented example where only one country, China, would invest $31.5 billion.

“In the energy sector, 10 projects will be launched in Gadani, Balochistan and six coal projects in Thar, Sindh,” he added.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told the meeting that China had initially approved projects worth $15-20 billion and working groups had been set up in that regard. However, Beijing was concerned over the security situation and called for making improvements.

PPRA rules

Background discussions with officials reveal that Chinese investment would portray a positive picture of Pakistan and help woo investors from around the world. However, China wanted that it be awarded contracts directly.

The Ministry of Water and Power approached the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) to seek advice on direct award of contracts for mega energy projects to foreign companies, investors and sovereign states. But the PPRA turned down the plea.

However, officials point to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline contract, which was being given directly to Iranian company Tadbir Energy. Apart from this, the government was negotiating a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deal with Qatar on a state-to-state basis. The officials suggest the government would have to strike such deals with China as well.

“Pakistan has procured nuclear power plants from China without any bidding and the same model could be followed in order to execute the multi-billion-dollar investment plan,” an official said.

Many countries, like China and Russia, and even foreign private investors were interested in undertaking big energy projects with the offer of financing but they wanted contracts without bidding, the official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Humayun
    Mar 16, 2014 - 4:37AM

    what is in it for Balochistan and Balochistanis $$$?

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  • Ashraf P
    Mar 16, 2014 - 7:23AM

    The Chinese “talk” billions of dollars but never really open their purse strings, Gwadar has now been in their custody for many years with little change. They are good at grabbing headlines by announcing big investments but in actual fact doing nothing.

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  • Dravidian
    Mar 16, 2014 - 7:49AM

    Pakistan is selling of our Dravidian Baloch brother’s land to imperial China and persecuting them.

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  • Asad Khan
    Mar 16, 2014 - 4:13PM

    @Ashraf P:

    The Chinese “talk” billions of dollars but never really open their purse strings, Gwadar has now been in their custody for many years with little change. They are good at grabbing headlines by announcing big investments but in actual fact doing nothing.

    The Gwadar port itself was been built by Chinese loan in Musharraf era. The Singaporian company which had the previous port management did bring FDI in infrastructure let alone Tanker Traffic.

    First knows your fact and only then relent.

    regards,

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  • AMB
    Mar 16, 2014 - 5:05PM

    New Mega Projects in Balochistan!!! it means alot of new No Go Areas for Baloch people within Balochista. After Sindak, RaikoDik,Gwadar Port and Sui Gas field (etc) now Gadani and many more.thats awsome work……………… its like Investing Billions of $$$$$s on a Garrison were natives will be PROHIBITED.
    e.g: Sui Gas flows out of Balochistan but 28 out 32 districts dont have any access to it.

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  • khan
    Mar 16, 2014 - 6:35PM

    if these projects get completed peoples of balochistan will be major beneficier..only hurdle in such big investment is security .whenever work on project starts.security problems starts escalating…india and iran dont want this port to be succesful..karachi became such hub just bcoz of port..previously bcoz of american pressure musharaf avoided china and give contract to singapore ..in 5 years they did not invested single peny..

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  • khan
    Mar 16, 2014 - 6:40PM

    @dravidian it is not selling land …to develop this port needs alot of investment ..no pakistani company can do this ..so pak has to award contract to some one else..every country is calling foreign investment ..but pakistan when some one start investing enemies of pakistan starts propagandas ……

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  • Shoaib Khan
    Mar 16, 2014 - 6:46PM

    Pakistan – China friendship zindabad!

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  • LSE -BALOCH
    Mar 16, 2014 - 7:26PM

    @Dravidian: lol! Whose land??? We are happy for our land… atleast chinese would develop it better than our Baloch warlords, who wana keep us uneducated and treat us as their slaves!

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  • Zain Baloch
    Mar 16, 2014 - 7:28PM

    @Dravidian

    Baloch have nothing to do with India, and they are also not from South Indian Dravidian race, they are mainly Persian/Iranian, Pashtun and Arab mixed race. Get your facts straight.

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  • Observer
    Mar 17, 2014 - 12:20AM

    @Ashraf P:

    “The Chinese “talk” billions of dollars but never really open their purse strings, Gwadar has now been in their custody for many years with little change. They are good at grabbing headlines by announcing big investments but in actual fact doing nothing.”

    Valid observations. The only interest China has in Gawadar is to secretly base its submarine forces there as part of their geo-strategic military calculations. They very well know that all this talk of Gawadar as a gateway to the Central Asian Republics is nothing more than writing in the air. Besides, the astute business people that they are, the Chinese will never invest in an area ripe with terrorism and with no real payback for their investments.

    Having said that, the Pakistani establishment is also creating an economic smokescreen as the reason for gifting Gawadar to the Chinese. The establishment’s calculation is that getting China to base its naval forces in Gawadar will somehow give Pakistan a counter to Indian navy in case of a war with India.

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  • Asad Khan
    Mar 17, 2014 - 2:37AM

    @Observer:

    Valid observations. The only interest China has in Gawadar is to secretly base its submarine forces there as part of their geo-strategic military calculations. They very well know that all this talk of Gawadar as a gateway to the Central Asian Republics is nothing more than writing in the air. Besides, the astute business people that they are, the Chinese will never invest in an area ripe with terrorism and with no real payback for their investments.
    Having said that, the Pakistani establishment is also creating an economic smokescreen as the reason for gifting Gawadar to the Chinese. The establishment’s calculation is that getting China to base its naval forces in Gawadar will somehow give Pakistan a counter to Indian navy in case of a war with India.

    Sorry mate your Observation is skewed to the hilt of irrationality.

    China is developing Ports in East Africa, Maldives, Sri lanka, Myanmar and even interested in developing Chittagong (Bangladesh) further.

    China not only invested but have sent its technicians / engineers for various projects, the most visible one are Neelum Jehlum & Nanipur.

    The myth of Indian navy was tested in 1971 and exposed in the form of INS Kukri (her 100+ souls are resting in peace beneath sea floor)

    China is not that naive to put her Naval units in Pakistan to give imperialist forces an excuse to pump testosterone levels in South Asia. However, China is more than welcome to park her SSBN/SSN in any port in Pakistan let alone Gawadar.

    regards,

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Mar 17, 2014 - 3:01AM

    Baloch people as an ethnic group are related to Pukhtoons, Punjabis, Sindhis, and other Pakistani people. Gwadar is set to become the new economic hub of Pakistan and Asia. I am glad to see so much interest from our friends in China, Turkey, Japan, Qatar, and the EU. In sha Allah, I am praying for the success of my country,

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  • AMB
    Mar 17, 2014 - 9:38AM

    @KHAN
    Beneficier are Baloch people??? I really doubt that. Sai Gas counts for 30% of total Gas supplies of pakistan BUT 28 out of 32 districts are deprived of it..What benefit Baloch got from it. From Sindak project’s revenue only 2% is given to provencial Govt.
    Another thing is that is that NO BALOCHS ARE AGAINST DEVELOPMENT BUT THE RISK OF BEING A MINORITY IN GWADAR is worth adressing. like sindhis are no more a majority in KARACHI.. secondly people talk of land lords or sardars, from last 20 years there isnt any Sardar effective enough to disrupt development… thirdly you talk about making Balochistan-China Highway and people of Balochistan themselves trevelling of MUD tracks? First facilitate the common people then talk of mega projects. Coz they havent benefited from any other mega projects like saindak,Sui Gas etc. so if you talk about being sole beneficiry its like DAY DREAMING.

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  • AMB
    Mar 17, 2014 - 10:19AM

    Talking about Benefiting Balochs:
    Chabahar Port (in Western Balochistan in Iran) is almost complete with Indian and Russian aid. Road links from Chabahar port to Afghanistan are 100% complete. Chabahar-Zabol Rail link is 50% Completed. Rail links are being laid from Nimroz(capital of Afghan Balochistan) to Kabul while Roads are also in place..
    If now Govt of pakistan show some seriousness and thinking of regional+local politics and make partnership with IRAN-PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN-CENTRAL ASIAN PROJECT+INDIA, All will benefit Economically and Baloch people will benefit Socially and Economically bcoz not to forget that more than a million Baloch and afghan people in boardering regions of PAK-IRAN-AFG are interconnection having some part of its family in one state and other part in other state. e.g Mohammad Hasani,Notazi, Reggi and Mengal tribe etc living in pakistani boarder have enharited land in afghanistan and iran or vise vrsa.
    A High way or Rail way from Gwadar to Dalbandin/Taftan to Nimroz via Panjgor-Kharan not only will connect the whole Baloch region but also Pakistan to Iran-Afghan-Central Asia Project which is almost completed (80+90%).
    (its my thoughts coz i am from Chaghi and still not seen Benefits from any project in Chaghi be it saindak or Raikodink which still isnt functionl)

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  • kl
    Mar 18, 2014 - 12:15AM

    What is the need of publishing Darvidian’s racist comments all the times? All he/she does is to troll and pass racist nonsense.

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  • Professor
    Mar 18, 2014 - 7:00AM

    @Asad Khan: “China is more than welcome to park her SSBN/SSN in any port in Pakistan”
    It would seem that Pakistan is basically a nation where everything is for hire. Why talk about sovereignty then? It feels so insecure that it doesn’t mind having foreign forces on its soil. Outsource the military to China if that will make you feel secure.

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  • Shah
    Mar 19, 2014 - 8:46PM

    @Professor: As Long As It Gives Your Beloved India Sleepless Nights We Will Be More Than Happy To Do It LOLRecommend

  • xx
    Apr 6, 2014 - 10:30AM

    Blockquote

    @Ashraf Are you a Pakistani ?

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  • xx
    Apr 6, 2014 - 10:53AM

    @Shoaib Khan:
    @LSE -BALOCH:
    we are best friends.

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  • xx
    Apr 6, 2014 - 11:28AM

    @Asad Khan:
    hehe
    On the BBS in China
    If someone says bad of Pakistan will be scolded by others
    On the BBS in Pakistan
    If someone says bad of China will be supported by others
    just so that

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  • xx
    Apr 6, 2014 - 11:34AM

    hehe
    On the BBS in China
    If someone says bad of Pakistan will be scolded by others
    On the BBS in Pakistan
    If someone says bad of China will be supported by others
    just so that

    Recommend

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