Protector of Gwadar: Story of Naseer Ahmed
Years after working alone faraway from his home in Gwadar, Naseer Ahmed was finally able to return to the land that he missed day and night. This time, he would experience something new and make a difference.
Naseer Ahmed still remembers the 100th day since he joined his current company. On that day, he was probably one of the most hectic yet proud individuals in Gwadar as he was welcoming dignitaries from Pakistan and China as well as exhibitors from around the world to visit and seek opportunities in this emerging zone.
“It was like a dream. I couldn’t imagine my hometown coming under the spotlight, and I was one of those who made it happen”, Naseer’s surreal sense partly due to fatigue from preparing for the Gwadar Expo 2019 and partly due to the impact by the overwhelming inflow of global visitors didn’t fade until dusk, when the humid, refreshing breeze from the Arabian Sea brushed his face and pacified his mind.
Back then, Gwadar Free Zone was only a grand, vague concept for many. Even Naseer, a Senior Supervisor of the Zone, could not picture what Gwadar would look like in three, five, or ten years, even though he knew subconsciously that something huge was on the way.
In the next following three years, the answers to his queries unfolded at an impressive pace before his eyes.
Every morning at 8:20, he walks through the premises and starts his working day as the supervisor of the general work and the security team of the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), which is responsible for the development and management of Gwadar Port.
Amid the pandemic, a paramount duty of his is to ensure health and safety protocols are up to mark. Face masks, hand sanitizers, and social distance have become terms etched in his mind.
“Thanks to the early and strict anti-epidemic measures taken at the start of 2020, Gwadar construction has been making big headway despite the ravaging pandemic”, Naseer told the Gwadar Pro reporter.
In mid-2020, the work on phase-1 of the Gwadar Free Zone was completed with all infrastructures, including power, water, road, telecommunication, waste treatment, drainage systems in operation and with over 30 registered enterprises from various sectors including banks, manufacturing, trade and logistics.
Naseer is not only a carer for the workers, but also a guard for the project. “Whenever there is heavy wind or rain, you can always find me on ‘ground zero’”.
To ensure that every task is completed on time and every problem is identified and solved promptly can be a stressful job. But Naseer finds strength from his company.
Last month, Gwadar witnessed heavy precipitation which resulted in a “flood-like situation”. Together with the Chinese embassy in Pakistan and other Chinese enterprises in Gwadar, COPHC took immediate actions by collecting and distributing edible items to local families.
“Amid the torrential rain, we went from door to door, even to the far-flung areas of the districts. While I’m the protector of the projects, I feel protected by our Chinese brothers”.
In July 2021, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday performed the groundbreaking of the much larger Phase 2 covering an area of over 2,000 acres, 35 times bigger than phase 1.
Plants for fertilisers, vaccines, lubricants, desalination, Agricultural Industrial Park, and Expo Centre were inaugurated. Gwadar people will enjoy expanded hospital, the first university in Gwadar, clean drinking water, and convenient road linkages such as the Eastbay Expressway.
Meanwhile, Naseer are having a larger area to supervise and protect. “I have been working in different companies before this, but I have never been given this much responsibilities and recognition of work”, he said.
Naseer Ahmed. [Photo provided by interviewee]
“I have seen this project as a jewel in the CPEC crown. This project is necessary for the development of Baluchistan and will bring a better livelihood for the locals”, Naseer said. “The map of Gwadar used to be barren and bleak, but now it has been lit up by the incoming companies”.
On December 29, 2021, Naseer was awarded as a member of Outstanding Pakistani Staff of CPEC.
Now looking back, the memorable Gwadar Expo 2019 was but a shiny starting point of Naseer’s remarkable CPEC journey. With the projects of the Free Zone started and completed one by one, Naseer is witnessing the city map become brighter and brighter with more sparkling points.
“I hope in the future, I with my team will always stand at the front line and deal with the challenges with better courage and experience to ensure the benefits of the Gwadar Free Zone can be delivered to the local people”, Naseer concluded.