05 January 2013

Gwadar's Accession to Pakistan

Gwadar is a hammerhead-shaped peninsula protruding into the Arabian Sea from the westernmost coastline of Pakistan in Balochistan province. It is situated at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, approximately 460 km (290 mi) west of Karachi, 75 km (47 mi) east of Pakistan's border with Iran and 380 km (240 mi) km northeast of the nearest point in Oman across the Arabian Sea. It is a natural and strategic location for a warm-water, deep-sea port.

Before 1784, Gwadar was under the suzerainty of the Kalat State (also known as the "Khanate of Kalat"), a princely state that always remained under the paramountcy of various overarching empires at different periods of its history. In 1784, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Muhammad Naseer Khan I, of the Brahui Ahmadzai clan, granted suzerainty over the Gwadar peninsula and its hinterland to Sultan bin Ahmad of the Al Said dynasty of Muscat who, due to an internal power struggle with his brother, Said bin Ahmad, had escaped to Gwadar from Muscat in 1784. Upon returning to Muscat in 1792 and capturing power, Sultan bin Ahmad maintained his possession of Gwadar by appointing a wali (governor) and ordering a fort to be built there. Sultan bin Ahmad also ordered his governor to attack and annex the nearby Persian port of Chahbahar.

When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, Gwadar was still under Omani rule. With the independence of Pakistan and accession of all Baloch states to Pakistan, including the Chief Commissioner's Province of British Baluchistan on 15 August 1947 (under Section 2(2)(b) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947); the States of Kharan, Makran and Lasbela on 17 March 1948; and the Kalat State on 27 March 1948, the residents of Gwadar began raising the demand to join Pakistan.

In 1954, Pakistan engaged the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a survey of its coastline. The USGS deputed the surveyor, Worth Condrick, for the survey, who identified the hammerhead-shaped peninsula of Gwadar as a natural and suitable site for a new deep-sea port. This finding, coupled with the rising demands of the residents of Gwadar to join Pakistan, prompted Pakistan to make a formal request to the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, Said bin Taimur, for the transfer of Gwadar to Pakistan. On 7 September 1958, after four years of negotiations, including six months of intense negotiations, Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman for USD $3 million. Gwadar formally became part of Pakistan on 8 December 1958, after 174 years of Omani rule.

As Prime Minister Malik Feroze Khan Noon addressed the nation on Radio Pakistan on 7 September 1958 to break the news of Gwadar's accession to Pakistan, celebrations broke out in Gwadar, Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan. Below is the transcript of the Prime Minister's radio address:

"The Government of Pakistan has issued a communiqué stating that the administration of the Port of Gwadar and its hinterland, which had been in the possession of His Highness the Sultan of Muscat and Oman since 1784, was today taken over by Pakistan with full sovereign rights. The people of Gwadar have joined the people of Pakistan and the whole of Gwadar now forms part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I know that the people all over Pakistan, including those residing in Gwadar, have received this announcement with feelings of great joy. I welcome the residents of Gwadar into the Republic of Pakistan and I would like to assure them that they will enjoy equal rights and privileges along with all other Pakistan nationals irrespective of considerations of religion, caste or creed. They will have their full share in the glory and prosperity of the Republic to which they now belong. The residents of Gwadar, most of whom are members of the brave Baloch community, have close racial and cultural links with the people of Pakistan and joining the Republic of Pakistan represents the natural culmination of their political aspirations. I should like to take this opportunity to thank, on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan, Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom for their assistance and help in bringing to a successful conclusion our negotiations with His Highness the Sultan of Muscat and Oman for the transfer of his rights in Gwadar. The negotiations were pursued with great vigour during the last six months and at every stage we received valuable advice from Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom. I should like to congratulate and thank his Highness the Sultan of Muscat and Oman on his wise and statesmanlike decision, which has endeared him to the people of Pakistan. The success of these negotiations and the return of Gwadar to Pakistan should help to illustrate that international disputes can be resolved in a peaceful and satisfactory manner provided that the parties to a dispute are prepared to approach the problem in a spirit of fairness and justice without allowing their emotions or prejudices to get the better of their judgment. I’ve been advocating this course during the last six months and I’m happy that the present Government has been able to establish the validity and effectiveness of this policy. Gwadar is the first fruit of this policy of goodwill and cooperation. I fervently hope and pray that it will be possible for us to resolve our other international disputes in an equally peaceful and reasonable manner. Pakistan Zindabad."
At the time, Gwadar was a small and underdeveloped fishing village with a population of a few thousand. Soon after its accession to Pakistan in 1958, the Government of Pakistan made Gwadar into a Tehsil (Sub-District) of Makran District in the erstwhile West Pakistan Province (after its accession to Pakistan in 1948, Makran had been made one of the districts of West Pakistan Province in October 1955). On 1 July 1970, when West Pakistan Province was dissolved into four separate provinces, Makran was declared one of the eight districts of the newly created Balochistan Province. On 1 July 1977, Makran was declared a Division and Gwadar was declared one of its three districts.


  1. Very important and informative article about Gwadar and its importance for Pakistan.
    Pakistan Zindabad

  2. I appereciate MR RAI AZAM for such an informative article about history and development of GWADAR district.I the young Baloch masses read these they would naver fight against PAKISTANI ADMINISTRATION. HAMID SHARIF MINHAS hamidminhas543@gmail.com

  3. Thanks for sharing the forgotten chapter of our history. Very Informative. We need to to frequently share such articles and researches so our generations know about our history. It is sad that not much attention is paid towards this area.

  4. Very Informative. Thanks for sharing the forgotten chapter of our history. It is important to share such articles and researches so that our generations know about our history. It is sad that not much attention is paid towards this.