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March 7, 2018

Resilience of tribal people admirable, says Shoaib Sultan


March 7, 2018

PESHAWAR: The founder of the rural support programmes in Pakistan, Shoaib Sultan Khan, paid rich tributes to the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for their resilience in the face of all odds and for their ability to bounce back under unfavourable circumstances.

He was speaking at a programme here after a four-day field visit to Khyber and Kurram tribal regions to see the work of Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) and to meet the communities.

Shoaib Sultan said that this was the ideal opportunity to initiate a holistic community-driven development programme in the region which would touch all the lives particularly of the women, youth and the poor. He said conditions were now conducive for this and the communities willing to participate in it.

Shoaib Sultan said that the RSP programmes had received excellent cooperation from the Pakistan Army and the political administration which had been very responsive to community needs and also created an environment where such work could take place.

Nasrullah Khan, Additional Political Agent in Kurram, accompanied Shoaib Sultan during his field visits. He explained the government’s commitment to improving the lives of the people in the region.

The local networks paid rich tributes to Shoaib Sultan for undertaking this arduous journey in his mid-eighties setting a good example for younger people in public service.

During the trip, Shoaib Sultan visited Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency where he attended a meeting of the local network of communities representing 23 organisations in Akakhel area in Khyber Agency.

Shoaib Sultan also visited the drinking water project established with KFW assistance in Shalobar tribe-inhabited Doctor Said Noor Killay.

Built at a cost Rs2.2 million, the project is benefitting 700 people. The villagers revealed that they had no access to drinking water in the past and women had to fetch water from long distances.

The local community networks informed Shoaib Sultan about the development works in the tribal region, which had helped them restore their lives through rehabilitation of their basic infrastructure for irrigation channels, drinking water and schools and provision of food by SRSP with the assistance of international donor agencies. Shoaib Sultan also visited various areas in Kurram Agency and widely interacted with the communities.

Five community networks of Kirman, Chinar, Zeran and Pewar and Speen Ghar, which were established with SRSP’s assistance, presented their work in a meeting at Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency. Over 500 community activists representing different community networks attended the meeting. The communities described how they had participated in conflict resolution, promotion of women education, undertaking projects and supporting orphans in the area.

Shoaib Sultan stressed the need for communities to collectively addressing their common problems, establishing democratic and inclusive organisations and targeting the poor to uplift them.

He said that he was glad that the government decision to support the RSPs in initiating development programme in 2007 with government and CIDA funding based on the process approach at the grass root level had been effective in the region

Shoaib Sultan also visited Government Middle School Khomasa and Girls Primary School at Angori in central Kurram where rehabilitation work with the assistance of EU and UNDP/UNICEF has been completed. About Rs 9.2 million was distributed to the Talimi Islahi Jirgas on this occasion for undertaking essential work at the schools in Angori, Salo, Tabi Tangi, Koda, Mian Patay, Rezinda, Khamosa, Bazaa and Kot Meeran.

On the last day of his visit, Shoaib Sultan visited KFW-funded DWSS project in Larzar village in upper Kurram which benefits 1,700 persons and supplies 10,000 gallon of clean water through a 13,900 feet pipe.

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