Byline: Syed Fazl-E-Haider
With 770km long coastal belt along the Arabian Sea, Balochistan has the 70 percent of the country's total coastline of about 1,045km. The coastal and sea-resources of Balochistan have not yet fully exploited and sustainably used for economic development of the province. The efficient and sustainable exploitation can bring about a positive change in the living standards of the people, particularly of coastal Balochistan and improve livelihoods there, besides creating enormous job opportunities and boosting economic activities in the least developed province.
The fishing is the only activity available to the people of coastal areas in Balochistan. With high illiteracy rate, the local fishermen find it harder to get alternative occupation other than the fishing. Lack of industry and agriculture is another reason behind association of majority people of coastal areas with fishing. Balochistan coast has huge potential for development of fisheries, tourism and seaports and renewable energy projects. The province enjoys diversity of marine life in nature. Its coastline is the most productive marine ecosystem of the world. According to an estimate, 60 species of fish and 10 of shrimps, including the best in the world, are found in the province. Present government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the provincial authorities need to make a long-term economic plan for development of coastal and sea-resources of the province.
For creation of more jobs, there is a dire need to develop ancillary industries in fisheries sector in Balochistan. These industries may include boat repair and engine workshops, transport and boatbuilding.
Gwadar Port on Makran coast has the potential to become the industrial crown of the country. It can transform the Pakistan's economic status forever. It will enjoy prime importance because of its geo-strategic location marking the confluence of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia. The Gwadar Free Trade Zone will open up many more possibilities for the region. Gwadar, after completion of port project is expected to become the 'boom' town in the next few years.
Gaddani ship breaking industry in Balochistan is the third largest in the world, employs about 10,000 workers and meets one-third of the scrap requirements of the re-rolling mills in Pakistan. The industry is a major contributor to the economy by meeting half of the steel requirement of the country. The ship breaking...