At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea

Special At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea
Aurangzaib Abdul Rauf, right, drinks tea at Café Padizar, the first boat cafe in the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar on June 20, 2022. (Photo courtesy: Fahad Ishaq)
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Updated 26 June 2022

At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea

At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea
  • Cafe Padizar is one of few hangout spots in the impoverished Balochistan region of southwest Pakistan
  • Brothers Fahad and Qadeer Ishaq opened the venture last month after renovating their family’s old fishing boat

QUETTA: Fahad Ishaq and his brother Qadeer are busy arranging chairs and tables as visitors arrive from different parts of Gwadar to enjoy a sip of tea and watch the sunset from their three-story boat cafe — the first of its kind in the southwestern Pakistani port.

Cafe Padizar, which opened in May, takes its name from the beach where it is docked, overlooking the high, rocky cliffs of the coast of Balochistan province and the Arabian Sea.

The boat, which belongs to Ishaq’s family, was left unused for years after its engines broke down.

In 2021, after graduating in business administration, Ishaq decided to put his degree to good use and began renovating the old vessel.

Together with his brother, the 21-year-old invested Rs1.5 million ($7,200) to restore the boat back and, two years later, turned it into a hangout spot — one of only a few in the impoverished, underdeveloped region.

“We decided to turn the boat into a cafe,” Ishaq told Arab News. “The internal parts of the boat were completely damaged, and now there is space for more than 100 customers.”

The cafe serves tea, coffee and snacks, but the brothers plan to introduce more food items to its menu and offer work to more people.

“Right now, we have hired six workers to serve customers,” Ishaq said. “But we have plans to expand the cafe.”

Business ventures are not always a certain success in Balochistan, a sparsely populated mountainous region bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Despite Gwadar being the center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it has been reaping few rewards from the multibillion-dollar infrastructure and energy plan.

Cafe Padizar is not the only business Ishaq runs. His company BOASIS Tourism specializes in bringing visitors from Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad to the sandy beaches of Balochistan.  

“Tourism and traveling have been my passion since childhood,” he said. “Cafe Padizar will help in fostering tourism in Gwadar.”

The cafe, the first of its kind in Gwadar, has so far been successful in attracting customers, something entirely new in a city where the last cinema closed almost two decades ago.

One customer, Aurangzaib Abdul Rauf, said that previously only fishermen could enjoy the views now available to anyone from the top deck of the former fishing boat.

“The cafe has been attracting tourists from the nearest towns,” he told Arab News. “Most of us come here in the evening to enjoy the sea covered by the mountains.”

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JOHANNESBURG: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in South Africa on Sunday to kick off a three-nation visit aimed at countering Russian influence on the continent.
The visit came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov undertook an extensive tour of Africa late last month.
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Taipei’s defense ministry also confirmed that China had dispatched “planes, vessels and drones” around the Taiwan Strait, “simulating attacks on Taiwan’s main island and on ships in our waters.”
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Taipei has remained defiant throughout China’s sabre-rattling, insisting it will not be cowed by its “evil neighbor.”
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The four bulk carriers were loaded with more than 160,000 tons of corn and other foodstuffs.
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The United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal last month after UN warnings of possible outbreaks of famine in parts of the world due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine that had squeezed supplies and sent prices soaring.
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Visiting a battlefield memorial in the Solomon Islands, Sherman said “some around the world” had forgotten the cost of war, or were ignoring the lessons of the past.
She hit out at “leaders who believe that coercion, pressure, and violence are tools to be used with impunity,” without citing any leader by name.
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The brutal seven-month land, sea and air fight between Allied and Japanese forces killed tens of thousands of troops — most Japanese — and was a turning point in the war.
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Nowhere is America’s waning regional influence more evident than in the Solomon Islands itself.
The government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare recently signed a secretive security pact with Beijing, has moved to curb press freedoms, and suggested delaying elections.
Sherman, again without naming names, told her hosts “it is up to us to decide if we want to continue having societies where people are free to speak their minds.”
It is time, she said, to decide “if we want to have governments that are transparent and accountable to their people.”
As well as warnings, Sherman said Washington wants to increase cooperation with the “absolutely critical” Pacific islands, including by opening embassies in Tonga, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands.
As part of the charm offensive, US President Joe Biden is also expected to invite Pacific Island leaders to the White House for a September summit.