Chitral News & Views
.. by Tariq Khan HI(M)
Pakistan is a relatively new country, but soon after its inception it had already begun to lose its true direction and purpose. It is now commonly misbelieved that the country was conceived because of ideology. In fact, it was conceived to escape ideology. Two factors point in this direction: first, that the majority of Muslims were actually abandoned in India at the altar of the Lahore Resolution of March 24, 1940, in favour of Muslim majority areas. Second, the current status of Muslims in India and the treatment they are receiving in a Hindu-dominant ideology. This can be further questioned in the wake of the Two-Nation Theory and the break-up of East Pakistan. Two conclusions stand out as a fact: Bangladesh never joined India, and Pakistan was not constructed for Islam.
However, it is this very thinking that dominates our external and internal policies. Resultantly, the country has morphed into something it was never designed to be. Over the years it has refused to become a nation, instead forcing its people to look towards a larger objective — the ‘Islamic Ummah.’ Thus, instead of looking inwards, the country has insisted on looking outwards — for assistance, for resources, for employment, for support and for recognition. This has determined its outlook and profile, and engendered both, an alignment with ideologically compatible elements, and with globally acceptable governance principles. This in turn has led to two different and opposing perceptions in perpetual conflict with one another: a government trying to find its place in the comity of nations as an international entity based on a universally accepted social order, and a public at large held hostage to an extreme position based on ideological thinking — which nothing short of death would do to defend. Somewhere between these two positions lies the State of Pakistan — a country without a nation, in search of an identity.
In this situation, the backdrop of National Security for Pakistan has to be discussed; the parameters not only need to be defined, but clearly understood. After all, before any collective wisdom leads to commitment whereby red lines are established and limits recognised, let us first examine what it is we want to lay down our lives for, and more importantly, what it is that we wish to live for.
The State and Government are two different things. The former is permanent and comprises people, land, sovereignty and government. The latter is intangible and temporary; it is a component of State; it may be a democracy, an aristocracy, a dictatorship or even a monarchy. In a democracy the government usually represents the majority of the people, but not all the people, whereas the State includes all the people in it. In the case of Pakistan, the purpose of the State was never documented, but in keeping with the Quaid’s vision, it was amply expressed in his ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’ statement. Unity was a quest for being one nation, faith was to have confidence in a new and fledgling state and its people, while discipline was a reference to the rule of law and regulation. The future profile of the state was defined by the Quaid’s address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
The Objectives Resolution put paid to Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan. The immediate contradiction between State and Government is blatantly displayed in the constitution by this Resolution. This was first only a preamble to the constitution, later becoming part of it on the orders of a dictator. The very notion of structuring a separate state, unbound by religion or ideology, was challenged by the people who were thrust into the corridors of power — pygmies and men of straw. The mullahs who rejected the Quaid and declared him a ‘kaffir’ and who labelled Pakistan as ‘Kaffiristan’, slowly acquired control of the government. This led to serious social polarisation, damaging the first principle that the Quaid laid out for the State: ‘Unity’.
Then there is the issue of the Constitution, a document that is a codified law which only deals with the limits of the government’s power. Though the objectives of the constitution are many, first and foremost of these is to define the components of government itself, and even more importantly, it is in fact a set of regulations designed to protect the people from their own government. It embodies laws and regulations that guarantee human rights, equality, freedom of speech and access to information among many other matters. However, in Pakistan’s Constitution it is clearly stated that a non-Muslim cannot be the head of State or the Prime Minister, making some people more equal than others. It also sets the flavour and precedence for selecting people to high office. This is the second contradiction that all governments have with the Founding Principles of the State as defined by the Quaid in his first speech to the Constituent Assembly. This has led to divides that have taken on a violent turn as was the case of the riots that prompted Justice Munir to state: “As the commission noted, no two religious divines could agree on the definition of a Muslim. If the members of the commission tried imposing a definition of their own, the ulema would unanimously declare them to have gone outside the pale of Islam. Adopting the definition of any one religious scholar entailed becoming an infidel in the eyes of all the others.”
Thus in the years preceding 9/11, Pakistan witnessed two thousand sectarian killings. Religion had now become a part of politics. The sitting government of the time could not find it within itself to say a few words of prayer for the departed soul of their own governor, Salman Taseer, when he was killed by his guard. Governments were forced to review foreign policy as well as administrative policies in keeping with the maulvis’ views. This has resulted in the ridiculous spectacle of a Mullah Aziz of burqa fame to openly challenge the writ of the government in the heart of the capital even today, or the disgusting sight of a crippled Mullah Rizvi, sitting in his wheelchair, abusing everyone in government publicly. There is a comic illustration of the maulvis’ hold on the public that is regularly displayed from some roof when a band of these lame, blind and bearded self-appointed custodians of the faith, try to find the moon through a telescope at every Eid.
Questions are asked about sovereignty and how it must be defended. Yet how does one view sovereignty? Is it merely a wish — a distant intangible phenomenon — or does it have real implications in real terms? When a country owes so much to international financial institutions and when it depends upon alliances for its existence, sovereignty can never be total but always proportional to the power potential that a country has. Today, Pakistan is not in a position to formulate an independent foreign policy and has to acquiesce to regional and global demands. More so, Pakistan is not even in a position to construct its own annual budget without IMF approval. Thus sovereignty is relative and Pakistan has very little control over its own matters. In other words, what are those National Objectives that Pakistan needs to promote through a foreign policy? The first and foremost of these would be to convince the world that it is in compliance with international norms and values. Yet, Pakistan is often on the back-foot, defending non-state actors, extremists and known wanted militants. Is this government policy, or is the government coerced into it? An external threat to Muridke would put Pakistan in a situation where it would have to fight to defend an extremist institution put up by maulvis. So does National Security call for cleaning up these areas or defending them? This ambiguity needs to be addressed and the prevailing confusion must be dispelled. Then there is the account of the drone attacks during the War on Terror which FATA was subjected to; of the 48000 square kilometres, 35000 square kilometres had been cleared of the militants, leaving only 13000 square kilometres that generally included North Waziristan. This was where the drone campaign focused. It was mainly because Pakistan actually had no real control of its own area and its sovereignty was being continually violated by foreign fighters. Was it right for the State to abdicate its responsibility and not remove the foreign fighters thereby subjecting its own citizens to a bombing campaign? Violation of sovereignty was the first argument that the State offered the world, but refused to take measures to establish that sovereignty even at the cost of its own people. National Security therefore has to take on a more deliberate note and a defined direction.
National Security must always be seen in the context of ‘threat’ and vulnerabilities. After all, security against what and who? People tend to confuse military conflict with war. War is a term derived from ‘werre’, a Greek term, which means chaos. It is an all-encompassing term and military conflict is the last and smallest component of it. War includes, economy, food security, liberty, infrastructure, communication systems, industry, etc. Thus military conflict has very little role in National Security and usually when it comes to the necessity of a military application, the war has already been lost. East Pakistan is a very good example, where no military action could have kept Pakistan united — the war was already lost. So, first and foremost, the threats to Pakistan and the vulnerabilities it is exposed to must be identified. In this case, where the economy is being devastated by governments themselves, where industry cannot grow, where GDP is negative, to identify the threat is not at all difficult. When the provinces do not see eye to eye and there are provincial issues, when people are divided by ideology and sects, then this polarisation has a serious impact on the very foundation of the State. Yet when one sees that all governments have remained in conflict with the state, then what can any National Security Plan do for the country? A country disunited, without a nation, living on borrowed resources and borrowed time, looking around to defend itself against a threat when its own governments have been the biggest threat, while the people of this country follow at second place, needs serious and detailed retrospection.
If it is National Security that must address these internal and external issues, it must first examine the very ethos of the State and bring back those values that the Quaid had stipulated in his first speech as well as his vison of Unity, Faith and Discipline. No other course would ever serve this country better. For this, the following reforms are recommended, which need to be put in place by the National Security Council.
Judicial Reforms to provide a homegrown judicial system compatible with international law. To ensure equality for all and a state where no one will be treated as a lesser human being by profession, belief, caste, creed or birthright.
Another area in dire need of attention is the depoliticisation of the police and making this institution independent of politicians. Ensure good recruitment among the leadership and provide international-level training. This would bring an end to bullying of society by the politician in the chair. It would also address the VIP syndrome and unnecessary protocol demands.
There is also the issue of modifying or rewriting the Constitution. It must be remembered that this is a document provided by the ‘people’ to the legislators to ensure that they understand the limits of their power and remain confined within stipulated parameters. Human rights and individual freedom, liberty and security to life and property must be the basis of the constitution. In Pakistan democracy has become the tyranny of the majority and the constitution must address this matter.
Also in urgent need of redressal is the matter of ideology. Religion must be separated from State business. It should be an individual choice and not a communal business. Maulvis have to be put out of the business of politics. They should be allowed to function only after being licensed and with a strict code of conduct and stipulated regulations.
As for the provinces, Pakistan must either consider the United States of Pakistan with total autonomy to the provinces, or the provinces should be further divided to create about 20 or 25 provinces. Provincial separatist movements that keep threatening national cohesion can be addressed by more provinces.
Furthermore, the government must reintroduce merit in the bureaucracy. Education must be given very special attention. Only the best must be selected for government. Education must have another field promoting skilled manpower and labour that is affiliated with international guilds. This would establish standards in workmanship and also provide better jobs the world over.
People that have robbed this country must be held accountable. No plea bargains should be allowed. Closure must be brought to these matters as quickly as possible.
And as for governance, the government has no business participating in the corporate sector and must divest all its businesses. The government must make policy and not run businesses. The power distribution system is a good illustration, the government cannot control theft, corruption and mismanagement. If handed over to the private sector and competition is encouraged, the matter of power distribution would easily be resolved. On the other hand, the amount of misappropriation and mismanagement that one witnesses on a day-to-day basis negates the need for the government regulation as it stands. A free market economy should decide how businesses develop. Most importantly, development funds must never be placed at the disposal of the legislators; it is unconstitutional, an indirect bribe and a basis of corruption.
A country in a conventional democratic order is governed by the three pillars of State: Legislative, Executive and Judicial; the fourth pillar, ‘Journalism and Reporting’ was added by the United States after the Civil War. It is now commonly recognised as the Media. This was meant to add a process of checks and balances, not one of disputes as we have. However, in Pakistan, in very real terms, the shots are really called by the clergy, who determine what is kosher for foreign policy as well as administrative functioning; without a nod from them, nothing of substance can move forward. The mafias who dabble in crime and thievery are proving to be another force to reckon with and who manipulate judicial decisions and legislation to their own convenience. It would not be out of place to add them to the pillars of the State as viewed in Pakistani democracy. With such contradictions in place and with the common knowledge that the provinces are held together by the military and not through political cohesion or through any constitutional convention, maybe the armed forces too should be given the status of a pillar of the State. Thus as long as ‘Volume 10’ remains secret, the Model Town killings will see no closure, in fact, all inquiries will continue to die without conclusion, mosques will be filled to capacity, but no child will be safe on the streets. But it is not surprising that the army has a role in governance. It has been accorded that by the successive governments of the country who need it to clean drains and desilt canals, collect electricity bills, manage disasters and contain pandemics.
If National Security has to secure the interests of the country, it must establish the country’s relevance in the world. Here it appears that Pakistan is going down the CPEC route — and that is not a bad thing. The connectivity of the sea to the land and Asia to Europe has huge potential. Pakistan is central to this activity and if it engages in this activity in earnest it will establish itself as a Global Trade Corridor. This allows for many stakeholders and partners the world over to benefit and participate in an economic synergy never seen before. That would bring Pakistan international relevance and with it, clout and a voice at various forums. However, the internal vulnerabilities remain and are huge. To weave this country into a nation, to unify it, to bring faith in its own capacity, to ensure discipline among communities, a great deal would have to be done. The constitution needs to be revisited, the social contract reexamined. The contradictions between the State and the Government must be removed and political manifestos must define only how they could enhance State objectives, principles and vision, or at the least, how best they could serve them. In this vein, the distortion of history must stop and real issues with a factual record must be encouraged. Culture, tradition and history make a nation — lies do not. The political structure needs to step up to the block and resolve these issues or the army is there to stay for better or for worse. In the paradigm of national security, the enemy always searches for the centre of gravity, that if targeted and dismantled, would bring about an early demise of that particular country. In Pakistan, it is now universally recognised that the Armed Forces are the cohesive factor and must be attacked at every level, i.e. moral and physical. People must be informed that smear campaigns, media onslaughts and unnecessary criticism without understanding either the backdrop or the environment is playing into enemy hands. What needs to be understood is, as has been famously said, you will always have an army, if not your own, then someone else’s.
Recently Prime Minister Imran Khan Inaugurated Protected Areas initiative. Under this program there are 15 national parks including Handarap Shandur national park in GB. I wonder what this name stands for ? National park is technical term and it means protected habitat of unique flora and fauna. Handarap Shandur is misleading name. Handarap is not a natural habitat. It is a hamlet of 300 houses in Ghezar GB, with a human population of 3500 souls. There is a nala called Shonjo Gole. It is 27 Km long nala adjacent to Handarap with a beautiful lake, Lush green meadows and alpine forest. Shandur is name of a distant place in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa, which neither makes part of it’s Core area nor periphery. In view of the above the very nomenclature of the National Park is wrong. It must be renamed Shonjo Gole national park which is a natural habitat, not human settlement.
It would be pertinent to suggest that the initiative may be reviewed by technical people having basic know how of biodiversity and it’s conservation. National Parks is an advanced step of game sanctuary and game reserve and as such it must be planned through a team of experts in the field. The current scenario shows that this topic is under the grip of lay men among political circles. In order to make a viable technical project, the names of Handarap and Shandur may be deleted from the title name and it must be Shonjo Gole national park. .. by Dr. Inayat ullah Faizi, Chitral 18 Oct 2020
.. by Geoff Colvin
The International Energy Agency today declared solar photovoltaic power “the new king of electricity,” stating in its annual World Energy Outlook that “solar PV is consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen.”
Kurzweil told us more than a decade ago this would happen. Hardly anyone believed him. Kurzweil is the inventor and futurist best known for his writings on the singularity, the moment when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence and it becomes possible to upload our brains. “There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine,” he has written.
Many of his predictions are based on applying Moore’s Law to technologies other than computer chips and following that idea where it goes. Back when photovoltaic tech was impossibly inefficient, he observed that it was doubling in performance every two years or so; he extrapolated from there.
Result: Depending on which year you take as the baseline, he was forecasting over a decade ago that global photovoltaic capacity in 2019 would be 448 gigawatts or that in 2020 it would be 1,120 gigawatts. Reality is right in between. The IEA’s estimate for 2019 (the actual number still isn’t available) is 633 gigawatts; the forecast for 2020 is 770 gigawatts.
You could argue that Kurzweil’s forecast range was very wide, but remember that he was making these calls when global photovoltaic capacity was only seven to 15 gigawatts. Remember also that he didn’t claim to predict the future of oil, gas, or coal prices or the future of energy demand as the world economy expanded, all of which would affect demand for solar technology.
Making outlandish predictions that tend to come true is largely the story of Kurzweil’s life, as Fortune noted four years ago. Today’s news is a reminder of what writer David Z. Morris advised: Ignore him at your peril. .. Source
CHITRAL: The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to construct a cricket stadium in remote Kalam valley of Swat district at a cost of Rs 607 million. Ridiculous as it seems, when other districts of the province like the two districts of Chitral are begging for provision of basic road facilities, so much of money is being squandered into a cricket stadium and that too at a place which remains desolated for eight months in a year due to extreme cold weather there. Cricket is a receding sport and less and less people are interested in it with every passing day. In Chitral, cricket has almost given way to football. The KP govt should reconsider spending public money on useless pursuits and diligently consider to distribute funds equally and fairly among the districts to be used for practical and useful projects. .. CN report, 16 Oct 2020
CHITRAL: PM’s advisor on Environment and Climate change Malik Amin Aslam has during his visit to Chitral said the gas plants project in Chitral was aimed at selling LPG gas more than saving the trees. He said Electricity is an indigenous produce and can best be used to save trees and the environment. It may be pointed out that ‘Chitral News’ in a news report had warned about the inevitable failure of the project. Even if the gas had started arriving, it would not have been sustained for even a few months, like the diesel generators brought in by Begum Nusrat Bhutto.. The CN report of 05 April 2019 is reproduced below:
Chitral: Chitralis in general have very little capacity to learn from past mistakes. As deprived people for centuries we jump to grab the first bone that is thrown at us without realizing the potential toxicity of the bait.
In 1989 when Nusrat Bhutto was elected MNA from Chitral there was electricity crisis going on in the district. As a quick fix solution our political leaders demanded diesel generators to be brought to Chitral and the Mohtarma without even thinking, airlifted huge machines worth millions and promptly fixed them at various places in Chitral. These generators did not even work for a month before being abandoned as unfeasible and are since lying rotting, occupying precious plots.
The obvious was not envisioned by our leaders and policy makers at that time. How could diesel generators be justified in Chitral which is full of hydel energy potential and at the price of those generators we could have built hydel plants providing more electricity than the capacity of those generators. After failure of the generator project came another genius solution to the electricity problem. Then Chief Minister Aftab Sherpao brought electricity from down country (which itself was suffering shortage) to Chitral over the Lowari pass. The fate of that project also failed to be an eye opener for Chitralis.
Now it is being planned to transport LPG from Qatar to Chitral to provide energy to households. What could be more ludicrous than this?. It is even more ludicrous than ‘carrying coal to new castle’. How can gas be provided through pipelines to household when we have yet to see water being successfully provided in this way. There are numerous leakages and breaks in water pipelines and much of the water is wasted. It is only because we have abundant free water that we do not feel it much. Gas is a fragile and expensive commodity. Even a single prick leak in the pipe any where down the line will deplete the whole storage tank in no time. Do we need a rocket scientist’s mind to understand this basic common sense fact? Why are we adamant on wasting government money in a project that is a ‘no go’ right from the start?.
The land that has been acquired for the project should be utilized in some better way. May be even a football ground would be better than making it a graveyard for gas plant machines that are doomed to die soon after their installation. Money that will be made by the contractors and concerned officials would be from Chitral’s share of the budget.
Whatever funds are being allotted to be spent on acquiring the gas plants, transporting them and subsidizing the gas, should be diverted to subsidize electricity to Chitrali people so that Chitralis can use the already abundant indigenous electricity for cooking and heating in a manner that is cleaner and more efficient than LPG. .. CN report, 05 Apr 2019
.. CN report, 14 Oct 2020
CHITRAL: Greenhouse farming is bringing about a change in the lives of farmers in the high altitude areas of the Chitral district, where normal growing season is limited to only two months due to extreme weather conditions.
Rahmat Gul, a farmer in Nogh Pheti area of Garam Chashma valley, who has set up a solar greenhouse, told Dawn that he earned handsome cash by selling the vegetables.
“For the last two years, I did not go to other parts of the country to work there as labourer in construction industry as I am earning enough to support my family and afford the expenses of my son studying in a college by selling the vegetables in the market,” said Mr Gul.
He said the whole arrangement consisted of a 35-by-16-foot room covered by glass sheets on the sides facing the sun, and plastic sheets on the other with a plastic-coated wooden door on one side and a thick wall to the opposite to trap the heat radiated by sunrays during daytime.
Mr Gul said the concept was introduced by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme officials.
“It is quite amazing to see that vegetables of different kinds are growing inside the glass house even during the month of January when the area receives heavy snow and temperatures plunge to below freezing point,” Mr Gul said while harvesting vegetables inside his greenhouse.
Jalaluddin of Gobor village has also raised the solar greenhouse in his field, which produces enough vegetables for him to sell to neighbours and in the market, earning enough to support his family.
He said the solar greenhouses were equally helpful in speedy growth of seedlings of different vegetables, including tomato, onion, eggplant and others, whose seeds were usually sown in March.
He said growing off-season vegetables had also helped improve nutrition levels of the locals as in the past they depended only on meat and milk products.
When contacted, Attaur Rahman, senior agriculturist of AKRSP, told Dawn that his organisation had introduced the facility in the high altitude valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral as part of the efforts to alleviate poverty and improve nutrition.
He said so far such facilities had been provided in Baroghil, Yarkhoon, Khot, Rech, Garam Chashma and Gobor valleys.
“People in the snow-bound areas were not familiar with vegetables as they grew only potatoes, beans, wild wheat and barley for sustenance apart from livestock keeping. The greenhouse facility has become popular with the locals,” he said. .. Source
CHITRAL: It is indeed a pity that since inception of Pakistan, leadership, whether civil or military have failed to deliver on their promises.
If we look at history from the time of breakup of the country in 1971, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power with the help of the promise of ‘Roti, Kapra, Makaan (food, clothes and shelter). We all know that he did not fulfill his promise. He was followed by Ziaul Haq, who assumed power promising to bring Islamic system in the country. We saw that he backed out on that and only started beating about the bush to prolong his tenure in power. He was followed by Bnazir who alos made hollow promises and failed to deliver on them.
Then came Nawaz Shareef with his big claims of ‘Qarz utaro mulk sanwaro’ like jingles but soon after coming to power threw such promises o out of the window and indulged in taking even more loans. Then came Musharraf with all sorts of tall claims of accountability across the board etc but he failed to deliver on any.
Now the present govt of Imran Khan is also way away from delivering on his gargantuan though altruistic promises. In short no leader has so far come up to his/her promises and all have made one excuse or the other for their failures. The story of Pakistan can be summarized in the following short stanza by an urdu poet.
کب غریبان وطن کو عہد خوشحالی ملا
رونا روتا ہی رہا گلشن کو جو مالی ملا
جانے والے جب گئے جیبوں کو بھر کر لے گئے
آنے والوں کو خزانہ جب ملا خالی ملا
.. CN report, 11 Oct 2020
CHITRAL: At a meeting of the newly formed non-political forum namely ‘Chitral Development Forum’ speakers demanded that the government immediately pay attention towards the pathetic condition of roads and bridges in the two districts. They lamented that the road infrastructure was at a least a hundred years behind rest of the world. Even neighboring districts of Swat , Dir and GB were way better in this matter. The meeting was convened by founder of the forum Waqas Ahmad Advocate and presided over by Professor Mumtaz Hussain. Amongst the participants were Shahzada Siraj Ul Mulk member of PM’s task force on tourism and other elite and civil society representatives. The meeting decided that if no concrete steps are taken in this regard, the meeting will be reconvened after a month to decide on further action. .. CN report, 11 Oct 2020
.. by Islamuddin
Standardization of measurements and time began in 1960s with SIs in Paris and GMT in London and since then both have become globalized including in Pakistan. But standardization of educational certificates and degrees has yet to take place. Our first education policy in 1970s was the first step in this direction with some universities starting semester system. However instead of moving forward we have backtracked. The advent of WTO and ISO certification regime in 1990s gave new impetus to the globalization drive in the education sector. This regime requires 4 years of degree program (B.S) divided into 8 semesters. M.S replaces M.Phil to be followed by Ph.D. Despite international urgency we slept and failed to upgrade our institutions to offer these courses. Suddenly with increasing heat being placed on the government notifications are being issued asking colleges and universities to start 4 year degree programs completely ignoring their capacities for the task.
This year students with less than 800 marks at intermediate level could not get admission in B.S. Left high and dry candidates are trying to get admission in Associate Degree program which has replaced the old B.A/B.Sc but could not get admission in this program because syllabus for this has not yet been made available to colleges. Some of the newly established universities find it difficult to start B.S courses for want of resources. Almost all private and many government colleges can only offer Associate Degree program but the enabling notification and syllabus have not been issued causing delay which would adversely affect completion of courses in time. It would have been in the fitness of things for the government to mandate universities to offer B.S and colleges to offer Associate Degrees. That is the only way out of our current predicament failing which 80 % of our student population would stand deprived of education beyond intermediate. The poor would be hit hard because Associate Degree program which is cheaper than B.S is not available to their kids. Above all private students do not figure out in the new dispensation, as there is no provision for private B.S degree.
In Chitral the situation is even worse. Chitral University has not yet been formally commissioned by HEC although it does offer B.S programs in few traditional subjects but the legality of its degrees is not certain. Together with its post graduate college only a handful of students can be accommodated in B.S program. None of them offers admission in emerging marketable disciplines. This is forcing students to move out in search of marketable disciplines at a cost that majority of them can ill afford and consequently Chitralis would be deprived of education beyond intermediate. Had SBBU not been gifted to Dir by our worthy representatives to please the powerful Najmuddin ostensibly as a trade off, Chitral would have been in a better position to offer B.S programs in variety of subjects. Give the current snail speed with which the university project is moving or shall I say stagnating, it would take decades for the University to give some semblance of a seat of higher learning. Our elected representatives have no time for the University project and consequently HEC funds are only trickling down instead of flowing. This is not how universities are built. Without a full -fledged university, offering contextual and marketable courses, Chitral would lag behind in development. University level research and innovation would go a long way to unleash the creative energies of Chitralis and fast track its multi-dimensional development.
It is hoped that the government would wake up to its responsibilities and bring some clarity to the emerging confused scene in higher education on lines suggested above i.e. mandating universities to offer B.S and colleges to offer Associate degrees. If a holder of Associate Degree chooses to join B.S, then his 4 semesters of Associate Degree may be deemed to be part of initial 4 semesters of B.S and the remaining 4 semesters may be completed in the university. In case of a shortfall in content Knowledge a bridge semester, as suggested in earlier HEC notification, may be offered to Associate Degree holders before they can join 5th semester of B.S. In view of the tough criteria for B.S admission teaching quality up to intermediate may be improved through inter alia, cheating free examinations. HERA and the University of Jurisdiction may not be allowed to fleece their affiliated colleges by demanding fresh registration fee for Associate Degree program and instead their earlier affiliation/registration for B.A/B.Sc may be treated as fee for the purpose of Associate degree program. The high rate of fee charged by HERA may be rationalized and brought down to make higher education less costly for students. In fact it would be appropriate to even eliminate this fee as HERA incurs no expenditure in providing service to the colleges or students. In the past HERA Peshawar remained under NAB inquiry for corruption. However since then HERA has been cleaned up and things are being handled more professionally. Monitoring of education sector regulators including universities may be tightened to eliminate corrupt practices… by Islamuddin, Chitral 11 Oct 2020