Between Global Dreams and Local Realities: Megaprojects, Development, and Experience of Place in Gwadar

By: Nasir Rahim Sohrabi

This talk explores the social experience of anticipation, desire, anxiety, and exclusion that has emerged as a result of Baloch fishermen’s entanglement with the Pakistani government’s development of Gwadar Deep Water Port and planned infrastructure projects under CPEC and other bilateral infrastructure development projects. Keeping in mind the centrality of everyday experiences in shaping social attitudes, the talk describes how discourses of development, globalization, and identity take place and shape the social reality of Gwadar’s people. It is based on the author’s research, social work, and personal experiences as a citizen and social activist and emphasizes the lived experiences and imaginations of fishermen and other ordinary people of Gwadar who occupy a subordinate position within the local social hierarchy. On the one hand, the promise of becoming modern citizens of this emerging port city creates new desires and longings among local people. On the other hand, these new developments have disrupted local people’s experiences of their relationship to their town and sociality.