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      June 08, 2013


Transforming the Chitral River into the most precious asset of the Chitrali people

By: Tariqullah Khan

Over the past many years several people have asked me about my views regarding the development of the Chitral district. I believe in the concept of an inclusive and sustainable development – inclusive to benefit all segments of the population and sustainable to stand internally sound and externally being friendly to the environment.

In childhood I used to sit in front of my house in Moreder and observe the Terich River passing through Gasoti Showtar and the Yarkhoun River merging with it at the end of the Bumbagh Showtar. I love my home for the opportunity it provides to observe the behaviors of these rivers. The rivers roar and become furious in the summer attacking and ruining lands and fields around their banks and they roar even more loudly during their lowest level in the winter crushing and smashing the ice they carry from far under extreme cold temperatures.

If you can have an opportunity to observe the River Chitral passing under the Chew Bridge in the summer, you will be mesmerized by the ferocity, determination and enthusiasm with which the river travels to the lower lands! Since childhood I always thought that such a determined continues power of flow must have been our friend for us to be more prosperous. But it seems that River Chitral has been ignored from time immemorial and its furious anger is a response to that lack of interest of the Chitrali people in its worth.

Water is the most vital source of life. Rivers only distribute this precious asset among us. In the context of a district, perhaps there is no other river in Pakistan as important as the River Chitral. Thanks to Google Earth, sitting on my desk I was able to watch the path of the River Chitral in the north all along from Terichmer on one side and Yarkhoun Lasht on the other end and down to the Southern edge of the district. For readers’ own observation I pasted the images on slideshare available at the link bellow.

In the more advanced societies, local and district governments that have important rivers passing through their jurisdictions formulate and implement river management plans and strategies. I have done a very intensive course in the London Business School - one of the world’s most premier institutions - on strategic management and the leadership challenge and have applied it in a number of cases. As an intellectual exercise I thought to apply my expertise to the case of River Chitral. Strategic Management is about transforming the most difficult challenges into most valuable opportunities and assets. Chitral River is the ferocious enemy of the Chitrali people and unless this enemy is transformed into our most precious asset we cannot achieve sustainable and inclusive development in the district.

So the vision of development of the Chitral district emerges: “transforming the River Chitral into the most precious asset of the Chitrali people”. I understand that the future district governments shall consider this as an initial input for developing and implementing the “River Chitral Management Master Plan” and engage the KPK and Federal Governments, the KPK Provincial Assembly and other relevant stakeholders in implementing the vision of: “transforming the River Chitral into the most precious asset of the Chitrali people”. In the bellow linked presentation I have presented initial ideas in this regard. One key idea is to establish the River Chitral Management trust company and determine its terms of reference through legislation at by the KPK Provincial Assembly and through this company the vision can be implemented effectively.

The intellectual community of the district has the responsibility to identify and objectively discuss the initiatives of strategic importance for the district so that the future district governments can develop strategies and master plans and implement the targets in a focused manner. With such a spirit I am offering this presentation to the intellectual community of Chitral for objective and positive discussion and dialogue - http://www.slideshare.net/tariqullahkhan/chitral-developmentproject-22234675.




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