Gwadar Port, Pakistan - March 2008
Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the Strait of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf. More than 13 million bbl/d of oil pass through the Strait. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-laden region of Central Asia. The Gwadar Port is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenues and create at least two million jobs. In 2007, the government of Pakistan handed over port operations to PSA Singapore for 25 years, and gave it the status of a Tax Free Port for the following 40 years. There is also money invested into the port by the People's Republic of China. The strategic PRC plan to be engaged in many places along oil and gas roads is evident.
The Makran region surrounding Gwadar was occupied by an ancient Bronze age people which settled in the few oases. It later became the Gedrosia region of the Achaemenid Persian empire. It is believed to have been conquered by the founder of the Persian empire, Cyrus the Great. The capital of the satrapy of Gedrosia was Pura, which is thought to have been located near the modern Bampûr, in Iranian Balochistan. During the homeward march of Alexander the Great, his admiral, Nearchus, led a fleet along the modern-day Makran coast and recorded that the area was dry, mountainous, and inhabited by the Ichthyophagoi (or "fish eaters"), an Greek rendering of the ancient Persian phrase "Mahi khoran" (which has itself become the modern word "Makran").  After the collapse of Alexander's empire the area was ruled by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander’s generals. The region then came under "local rule" around about 303 BC.
The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium, until the Arab-Muslim army of Muhammad bin Qasim captured the town of Gwadar in AD 711 and over the intervening (and nearly equivalent) amount of time the area was contested by various powers, including the Mughals (from the east) and the Safavids (from the west). Portuguese explorers captured and sacked Gwadar in the late 16th century and this was then followed by almost two centuries of local rule by the various Balochi tribes. The city was visited by Ottoman Admiral Sidi Ali Reis in 1550s and mentioned in his book Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557 CE . According to Sidi Ali Reis, the inhabitants of Gwadar were Baloch and their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar. In 1783, the Khan of Kalat granted suzerainty over Gwadar to Taimur Sultan, the defeated ruler of Muscat.  When the Sultan subsequently retook Muscat, he was to continue his rule in Gwadar by appointing a Wali (or "governor"). This Wali was then ordered to subjugate the nearby coastal town of Chah Bahar (in modern-day Iran), which ... The Gwadari fort was built during Omani rule, whilst telegraph lines were later extended into the town courtesy of HRM of the British.
In 1958, the Gwadar enclave was transferred to Pakistan. It was then made part of the Balochistan province In 2002, the Gwadar Port project (of building a large, deep-sea port) was begun in the town. The government of Pakistan intends to develop the entire area in order to reduce its reliance in shipping on the port of Karachi. In addition to expanding port facilities, the Project aims to build industrial complexes in the area and to connect the town via a modern highway to the rest of Pakistan. By the end of 2004 the first phase had been completed.
Gwadar's location and history have given it a unique blend of cultures. The Arabic influence upon Gwadar is strong as a consequence of the Omani era and the close proximity of other Arab-majority regions. The legacy of the Omani slave trade is observed in the population by the presence of residents which can trace their descent from the African slaves who were trafficked through the town (en route to destinations in the Muslim Far East. The area also has a remarkable religious diversity, being home to not only Sunni muslims, but also to groups of Christians, Hindus, Parsis, and various minorities such as the Qadianis.