British heir Prince Charles accepted cash in suitcase from Qatari sheikh: report

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-storey cafe boat – the first of its kind in the southwestern port of Pakistan.

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

The boat, which is owned by Ishaq’s family, sat idle for years after its engines failed.

In 2021, after earning his degree in business administration, Ishaq decided to put his degree to good use and started renovating the old ship.

Together with his brother, the 21-year-old invested 1.5 million rupees ($7,200) to restore the boat and, two years later, turned it into a hangout – one of the few in the poor and 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 room for over 100 customers.”

The cafe serves tea, coffee, and snacks, but the brothers plan to introduce more food items to its menu and provide work for 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 sure hit in Balochistan, a sparsely populated mountainous region bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Although Gwadar is the center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it has reaped little benefit from the multi-billion dollar infrastructure and energy plan.

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

“Tourism and travel have been my passion since childhood,” he said. “The Padizar cafe will help foster tourism in Gwadar.”

The cafe, the first of its kind in Gwadar, has so far managed to attract customers, which is entirely new in a town where the last cinema closed almost two decades ago.

A customer, Aurangzaib Abdul Rauf, said that previously only fishermen could enjoy the view now accessible to all from the upper deck of the old fishing boat.

“The cafe attracts tourists from nearby 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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