Gwadar | Farrukh Saleem

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Gwadar has no potable water. Gwadar lives on rainwater. Gwadar lives on the Akra Kaur Dam. In 2005, Akra was flooded because of torrential rains-and there was plenty of water. In 2012, Akra dried up and Gwadar had no drinking water. In early 2016, Akra dried up and Gwadar had no drinking water. Lo and behold, on September 1, 2016, PM Nawaz Sharif said that he was “glad to see Gwadar turning into an international city.” Can anyone name an international city that has no drinking water?

Currently, Gwadar needs 4.6 million gallons of water. Akra can only supply 2.5 million. By 2020, they say, Gwadar will need 12 million. Yes, the desalination plant in Karwat is supplying 200,000 gallons of water. And yes, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recently found that the “water pipelines needed to supply water to the city were missing.”

Gwadar has no electricity. After every hour there’s two hours of loadshedding. On June 30, 2016, the Ministry of Water and Power informed the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC that 100 MW of electricity will be made available to Gwadar from Iran by end-2017. The Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) told the same Committee that the Gwadar Port will not be receiving even a single unit of electricity from Iran. Lo and behold, on September 1, 2016, PM Nawaz Sharif said that “Gwadar would soon emerge as one of the country’s most prosperous cities…” Imagine: we need Iran to power Gwadar.

Gwadar does not have an educated labour force – the literacy rate is 25 percent. Gwadar has only one degree college (and no college for girls). The ‘mega-city-to-be’ has no university.

The Government Higher Secondary School Pasni, the largest in the area, has roofs that are at risk of falling over over-crowded classrooms. If and when there is electricity students routinely get electrocuted because of exposed wiring and broken switches. The school has no drinking water. To be certain, neither the provincial nor the federal government has Gwadar’s education on their agendas.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Gwadar has a total of 33,680 housing units of which only 20 percent are pacca. Of the total, only 35 percent have electricity. Of the total, only 45 percent have piped water. Of the total, only 0.86 percent has gas for cooking.

Yes, a hospital operated by the Gwadar Development Authority, has been lying idle for the past eight years. In April 2016, the chief of army staff, while visiting the area, ordered the authorities to reopen the hospital.

As of right now, Gwadar is not even a city. As of right now, Gwadar has no drinking water, almost no electricity, little or no educational facilities and little or no health facilities. As of right now, Gwadar has none of the stuff that most cities do. As of right now, Gwadar has no right to be even called a ‘city’. As for the future, our ‘most prosperous mega city’ is being built on Chinese illusions more than anything else. Will the Chinese bring their own supply of drinking water?

Yes, ‘time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so’.