The Makran Coastal Highway, also called National Highway 10 (N-10) is a 653 km artery running mostly along the Arabian Sea coast connecting Karachi in Sindh province with Gwadar and Jiwani in Balochistan Province of Pakistan. In between, the picturesque highway passes through and gives access to a number of attractions including some off-the-beaten-path-wonders; natural rock formations (Princess of Hope and the Sphinx), long stretches of serene beaches (Kund Malir, Ormara, Pasni, and Gwadar), the oldest Hindu shrine (Nani/Mata/Hinglaj Mandir), world’s largest mud volcanoes, Hingol National Park, Buzzi Pass, the Astola Island – a rare Arabian sea island near Pasni, and a WWII Museum in Jiwani. It is considered to be one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world.
The construction of the highway was completed on December 14, 2004. Before the construction of the Makran Coastal Highway, Karachi was linked to Gwadar by a dirt track and the journey would take almost two full days to drive from one city to the other. The best alternate option to travel safely, a detour, was the route via Quetta. The completion of Makran Coastal Highway reduced the average time to between 6 and 7 hours with comparatively economical transportation costs. The construction contract was awarded to Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and was completed in 3 years. Its maintenance is the responsibility of National Highway Authority of Pakistan.
Initially, the Makran Coastal Highway was conceived and constructed by the government to develop infrastructure along the disused coastal line to bring about economic activities, to benefit the coastal towns of Ormara, Pasni, and Gwadar, and possibly to turn them into major port cities. This would ultimately establish a strong connection of coastal towns with mainland Balochistan. Moreover, there involved high costs and time to transport fresh seafood from Gwadar to Karachi and construction of Makran Coastal Highway reduced both time and expenses. No doubt, it has further improved transportation and communication within Balochistan as well as with the rest of Pakistan.
The Makran Coastal Highway project, now, is a segment of greater Gwadar plan which is aimed to bridge various sectors of the economy. The project will help create economic activities in the region and will generate employment opportunities for the poor communities living along the highway and along the 800 km long coastal belt. Through this route, not only China but also the land-locked countries of Central Asia will also be connected, and immense business activity will be carried out between east and west. Balochistan province itself will also gain much attention and will start to function with an ultimate potential by starting to manipulate the rich natural resources.
- The journey from Karachi to Gwadar is long enough without any proper shops, fuel stations, cellular connection or other provisions. Careful planning is very important before undertaking a journey along the Coastal Highway. Here are some recommendations.
- Start as early in the morning as possible to make it to Gwadar on time.
- Top up fuel tank in Karachi and refuel at Hub fuel station as there is no fuel station on the way.
- Keep basic tools and extra tires. Make sure the wheels are in good condition.
- Make necessary calls before Zero Point, mobile signals recede beyond Zero Point.
- Kund Malir Beach (Agor) and Ormara beach are major stopovers on the way.
- Keep enough water, cookies, dry/fresh fruit etc as reserve stock during travel.
- Make hotel reservation in advance.