Gwadar is a place that has seen quite a bit of controversy throughout the years, not least in modern times. The port city was inhabited even in ancient times, which only means that it has seen a great many of the changes in ruling powers for the region. It saw the rule of Alexander the Great and his generals after him, was once looted by the Portuguese, was taken over by the tribes of Baluchistan, was governed by the Omani, and was purchased by Pakistan in the 1950’s. Despite that, no great and towering monuments have been left behind by these various powers in its history: Gwadar has been, for most of its life, a coastal fishing village, and it is only in recent years that it actually began to see development prompted by state authorities.
Pakistan, working with China, began heavy development of Gwadar in the 20th century, finally putting plans in motion in the early 2000’s. The intention was to develop it into another major port of the country that would be connected to it railways and roads and which would serve as a port permitting the importation of oil from Central Asia to Pakistan and landlocked Western China. China contributed a great deal of the funds, actually covering 80% of the first $200 million or so that went into the project. While the port is already being operated nowadays, though, it has not fetched the sort of traffic that the Pakistanis had hoped for, which has led to widespread claims of it being a futile developmental project. Most of the naval traffic goes to neighbouring Karachi instead, and many critics are worried that any successful plans to entice said traffic to favour Gwadar more would be senseless, since it would be a zero-sum situation for Pakistan.
As a result of the port’s lack of productivity and the controversies of who should operate it (interestingly enough, it was not China that was asked to operate it initially but the Port of Singapore Authority), the planned development of the area has slowed down terribly, with plots of land purchased from locals and marked for big constructions standing empty. As such, the commercial fate of Gwadar remains largely uncertain.
That said, there are yet reasons to visit Gwadar if you are in the area. Most of the tourists who do end up coming here do so not to see the proposed city development and port but rather the wonderful beaches around the town for scuba diving and other water activities. Two lovely places to visit would be Ormara Beach and West Bay Beach: these are excellent spots for those looking for a bit of beach fun in the country, and boast an intriguing assortment of marine creatures in their waters as well. Another excellent beach would be Kund Malir, which is very near the Hingol National Park, another must-see spot around Gwadar.