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  January 13, 2017

Detail

 

CHITRAL AT THE CROSSROADS

It seems so obvious that the region is at a point of having to decide its future. We have to devise our own destiny because Chitral is no more isolated part of the country due to the opening of Lawari tunnel. There are numerous challenges associated with the proposed alternative CPEC route via Chakdra, Chitral and GB. Speaking at a roundtable conference at Serena Hotel Islamabad on January 11, 2017,District Nazim Chitral Haji Maghfirat shah said that Chitral is not only a mass of land rather it’s a culture and we have to preserve it at any cost. The round table was planned to formulate a well- defined economic growth strategy for Chitral to assist in alleviating the challenges that uncontrolled growth can pose to the unprepared people, a fragile environment and a natural resource base threatened by climate change.

Since 2010,it is the first development projects to compensate Chitral after various natural calamities like floods and earthquake that caused unprecedented devastation in Chitral and push back Chitral economy for twenty years. However there are certain basic essentials that must be complimentary in order to reap benefits from any infrastructure projects. The favorable environment, human capital, consistent policies and favorable business environment in order to attract investment.

First, the favorable environment, Chitral is still one of the most vulnerable region to climate change and constantly prone to Natural calamities such as flood and earthquake.

Second, the human capital situation in Chitral is lagging. Despite Chitral is comparatively advanced with regard to literacy rate, as compared to the rest of KP, The rate of higher education completion is very low in Chitral.

Third, the representatives of Chitral in national and provincial assemblies are diverse in terms of political background. All of the political parties such as PMLN, PTI, JUI, JTI, and PPP are active in Chitral. In such a situation it will be difficult to agree upon on a single agenda.

Finally, the business environment in Chitral is very attractive due its distinguished favorable law and order situation. However due to lack of creativity and awareness local business community are generally inclined to risk aversion which is an  important obstacle in the way of business development.

In such a terrible situation can Chitral reap the benefits of alternative CPEC route?

In order to improve upon the indictors following are the recommendations.

·          Development of human capital through formal education and technical training should be restructured. The government should design area-specific training courses to cater to local needs. For this purpose, an assessment study can be conducted to understand local needs and business opportunities. In addition to this a need of charted university is always there in order to improve higher education rate.

·         Most of the time during construction the debris put it into the nearest river and which become flood when the flow of water is high in summer. Therefore an awareness campaign must be disseminated in order to mitigate the hazards of floods.

·         The political leadership need to think beyond their personal interests and make a valuable contribution in the development of Chitral.

·         Financial institutions should play their role by providing low interest base loan so that people become motivated and start business. Moreover arrangement of workshops and seminars for business community can also be helpful with provision of basic vocational training.

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is widely considered to be a game changer for both Pakistan and the region. However need to consider the environmental impacts of the project, after all the environment may get affected due to transportation traffic that will pass through Chitral attractive mountainous roads. Without execution of a unified institutional framework the fruits of CPEC may never turned up.
 

Sarwar Khan
M phil student
At PIDE Islamabad

 

mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

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