Despite multiple challenges, the work on developing Gwadar Deep Sea Port into a commercial hub and international shipping destination is progressing at a satisfactory pace, as the government and all institutions concerned are determined to make the dream come true.

This was noted when a large media team representing the national electronic and print media undertook an extensive tour of the site on Tuesday.

The trip was arranged by the Pakistan Navy (PN), which has the dual responsibility of guarding the sea approaches to the port and keep the peninsula safe from security risks and threats.

"With the commencement of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mega project, PN has increased all-round surveillance," said Commanding Officer of Pakistan Naval Ship (PNS) Akram Atif Sultan while briefing the media team.

He said a special Marine Battalion had been raised for security of Gwadar, Chinese engineers and delegates visiting there.

Gwadar, the main destination of the CPEC, will be linked with China's western region through a rail and road network. Energy projects are to get major portion from the 46 billion dollar Chinese investment in CPEC.

Commander Atif Sultan, explaining the challenges in the underdeveloped region of Gwadar, mentioned problems on the law and order front, lack of health and educational facilities, severe dearth of economic activities and non-availability of basic civic amenities. Terming the Gwadar Port `backbone' of CPEC, he said PN was making concerted efforts for ensuring comprehensive security as well as playing its role towards welfare of local people.

"Surveillance posts are being set up for security purposes and development projects are being implemented by the Navy to provide basic facilities like health, education and employment for welfare of locals," he said.

The commander said four medical centers each in Gwadar, Pasni, Turbat and Jewani coastal towns are working to ensure provision of basic health cover to the people, while there is a full-fledged hospital in Ormara. Furthermore, he said, three Bahria Model Schools were working in the coastal areas, adding that construction of a new school will be started within 15 to 20 days in Gwadar.

He said locals were also being given jobs in PN at different levels under a special programme to mitigate their financial sufferings, besides facilitating fishermen and helping to make the area an industrial hub.

Recounting PN's role in disasters, the officer said it accommodated 2,000 internally displaced persons at the PNS Akram, evacuated around 450 marooned peoples and arranged medical treatment for over 5000 patients during the flood-2013.

Answering a question, he said both the civil and military leadership were making strenuous efforts to earn confidence of locals in government's sincere policy for uplift of the area.

He said the efforts were yielding results as now the national events like the Independence Anniversary and Defence Day are celebrated there with active participation of civilian population.

In response to a question, the commander said surgical operations were undertaken wherever needed to avoid sabotage attempts by non-state actors and what he called "the conventional enemy", without elaborating.

Speaking about the local youth he said, "The sentiment among them is overwhelmingly in favour of the change that is taking place and they want to see their area developing and prospering."