Security in Gwadar: Govt dusts off plan to set up cantonment

Seeks to allay foreign investors’ security.

Qaiser Butt June 05, 2014
Seeks to allay foreign investors’ security. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE


The federal government has decided to implement a 12-year-old proposed project to establish a new cantonment in Ormara, Gwadar, according to an official source, who spoke with The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity. The execution of the project is under way and almost all basic preparations have been finalised, the official added.

China has grown increasingly cautious about investment in Gwadar due to security concerns, the activities of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, sectarian and Baloch violence, particularly in the areas around Gwadar.

The source added that the establishment of a cantonment seeks to address these security concerns. The Jinnah Naval base, the second largest naval base of Pakistan Navy, is located in Ormara, situated 240km west of Karachi via the Makran Coastal Highway.

According to a defence ministry report, the Balochistan government agreed to allocate 1,407 acres of land for the establishment of a cantonment in Gwadar. The ministry had stated so in 2005 before the Senate, in response to a question raised by Senator Ismail Buledi.

“In compliance with the directive of the president and prime minister, a proposal to establish a new cantonment in the coastal area of Balochistan is under process,” the ministry had further told the Senate.

“For the establishment of a cantonment, the provincial government was requested to transfer land measuring 1,407 acres, three rods and 24 poles to the federal government for use by Pakistan Army,” the report added.

Provincial Home Secretary Akbar Durrani told The Express Tribune that the Balochistan government has made ‘extraordinary arrangements’ for the security of Chinese engineers and experts at Gwadar port and Gadani power projects.

In 2004, three Chinese engineers assisting on a project in Gwadar were killed in a car bombing. The same year, two Chinese engineers working on a hydroelectric dam project in South Waziristan were abducted, and one of them died.

Meanwhile, a senior security official said that personnel in Makran and surrounding areas have been provided with helicopters to boost their security. “It is for the first time in about six years that helicopters were used to target militants in Kalat in April when 30 militants belonging to the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were killed in a security operation,” he said.

Helicopters were also used against militants in Makran and nearby areas of Gwadar earlier this year, particularly in the coastal regions, the security official added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2014.


Usman | 8 years ago | Reply

@observer: Indian troll couldn't help himself.

Moiz Omar | 8 years ago | Reply

@observer: Baluchistan is not a disputed region.

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