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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The meaning of Development

The increasing poverty in many parts of the world and the impact on the environment has led many people to question the meaning of development.
In mid twentieth century development was measured mainly in terms of economic growth. Those countries which had the most economic growth were viewed as developing the fastest.
However these countries also experienced acute social problems, such as crime, racism, inner city decline, drug abuse, alienation, family and community breakdown, and the growth of an underclass.
Development equated solely with economic growth also led the global problems, such as the divide between the North and the South, and the impact on the environment. Developed countries achieved their economic growth in some cases at the expense of the poor nations.

The quality of life and integrated development

As the twentieth century drew to a close, broader meanings of development were suggested. While economic growth was seen as an essential aspect of development, so were social development, culture and the care of environment.
In many countries people searched for a lifestyle where material wealth was not only their aim in life. Aspects such as health, creative use of leisure, access to nature, self development, and spiritual contentment were considered as equally important.
Happiness is not something that can be guaranteed by wealth alone. Human beings by nature are more than material beings, and seek for non-material pursuits in their lives. A broader understanding of development takes into account aspirations related to both material and non-material human life.
Material and spiritual balance
The balance between material and spiritual aspects of life is one of the central tenets in the Islamic vision. Human beings are not only physical entities, but have the divine spark within them. The physical side of a person reflects only one of his or her being. It has to be viewed alongside other facets such as the intellectual, the cultural, the social and the spiritual.
Islam is concerned with both din and dunya, spirit and matter, distinct but linked, neither to be forsaken. Din is the spiritual life of a believer expressed through an active relationship with the sacred. The earthly life, dunya is a preparation for the life to come.
In the Ismaili tariqa of Shia Islam, this principle is given great emphasis. The Imam guides the murids on seeking a balanced life in the changing circumstances of each age. He alerts them to their material and spiritual responsibilities.
From an Islamic perspective. development is viewed as both material and spiritual; one is not possible without the other. The spiritual guides and inspires the material, while the material reflects the spiritual. A murid seeks to be whole by attending to both the material and the spiritual in his or her life.

Culture and development

The principle of the balance between the material and the spiritual also applies to the development of communities and societies. Development from an Islamic viewpoint includes economic progress, but it is also concerned with the cultural, intellectual and spiritual development of a community.
One of the major spheres of development for the AKDN institutions is culture. In seeking to improve the quality of life of people in need, AKDN programmes do not focus solely on material progress. A central principle in their work is to integrate the material progress within the larger context of the cultural life of the people who are being helped. Culture is recognised as a vital clement in the overall development of a community.
How the communities will attain the holistic development: Please download the GUIDELINES on this link as the standard operating procedure.

Hunza Development Forum (HDF)- A Civil Society Platform

I would like to apprise you of a new approach adopted here in Hunza (part of Gilgit and Baltistan) that could be the future for many societies. In an era of rising expectations and unmet needs in our part of the world, the civil society sector plays an essential role in the provision of social services, the protection of the marginalized, the delivery of development programmes and the promotion of good governance. Its work is especially critical where governments are weak or non-performing. The concept aims at generating a common long term vision amongst wide array of organizations that have a presence in public life, including faith-based and charitable organisations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour unions, professional associations and foundations, village and women’s groups, neighbourhood self-help groups, social movements, business associations, microcredit organizations, coalitions, advocacy groups and above all the government. With this aim we are working to strengthen this concept through HDF (Hunza Development Forum). The attached extracts from our web site ( and HDF) will give you a fuller picture. I hope you will take out some minutes from your busy schedule to grasp the concept and extend help achieving the noble targets for the common good of community in this part of the world.
Specifically I am seeking following information with future possibilities for collaboration:
information about university/institutional programs in specific areas of Alternative Energy, Hydro-power, Earth Sciences, Social Sciences, Skill Development programs in Gems, Fisheries, Furniture, tourism and Languages, their costs, prerequisites for participation and any enabling provisions by the institution/governments and actions to avail the opportunities.

Rehabilitation Planning for Land slide Victims in Hunza

Rehabilitation Planning for Land slide Victims in Hunza
Since the situation is more or less stable now, the government (along with its agencies) and the civil society elements need to evolve a coordinated plan for rehabilitation. The basic planning data available (on 02 Jul 2010) through NDMA and FOCUS is tabulated as under:
Displaced Families / Individuals
Due to Land Sliding
141 Houses (1652 individuals) of Village Attabad & Sarat displaced due to land sliding on 4 January 2010.
The landslide disaster has displaced 1163 people from Attabad.
Due to Inundation
  • starting from 10 January onwards till date):-
  • Village Ainabad 32 Houses
  • Village Shishkat 130 Houses
  • Part of Village Gulmit     61 Houses
  • Hussaini      10 Houses
  • Gulkin         7 Houses
    Total     240 Houses
    Grand Total: (including Atta Abad & Sarat)    381 Houses
Two more households in Gulmit were declared IDPs, taking the total number of IDP households to 42. The number of households displaced in Shishkat is 92, in Ayeenabad 32 and Hussaini, 2.
Due to Blockage of Access Roads
  • All the valleys upstream of the lake, to include Shimshal, Sust, Chupurson and Misghar, where no damage has occurred, but people are suffering due to no economic activity and non availability of items of daily sustenance (total affected population 25000).
  • Boat service has resumed from 24 June onwards.
  • Heli service is being provided to sustain the population upstream
Damming of the Hunza River has created issues and challenges for over 25, 000 people stranded in the Gojal valley due to destruction of the Karakurm Highway, economic lifeline of the region

It may be pointed out that there is a noticeable difference between the two data sources. I therefore recommend to the Regional Council in Hunza as well as district administration to sit together and remove the anomalies in the planning data so that rehabilitation plans are formulated and executed without the frequent hitches that we see in our country in similar situations elsewhere.
My comments on David Petley's Blog:

"I wish you had seen the site of slide before it happened on 04th of Jan 2010. You would have reached the conclusion that I have reached long ago, that the lake is there to stay without any danger of bursting for a long time to come. Please join me in recommending to convert this disaster to an opportunity - by using it for generating 40 MW of electricity in winters and 400MW for the three months in summers." 

(Draft Gazette notification – Government of GB)
Government of Gilgit Baltistan
Gazette Notification

Rehabilitation of Affectees of Ataabad Disaster

Issued by Authority

Chief Minister’s Secretariat

Gilgit, Saturday, July 17, 2010

Government of Gilgit Baltistan declares Attabad Lake formed as a result of massive landslide on river Hunza in District Hunza-Nagar as ‘private property’ of the LSO formed by the affected families (381 households) retro effectively from 4th of January 2010 till it lasts. As such all economical activities connected with the lake will be the source of income for the present and coming generations of the affected families.

Syed Mehdi Shah,
Chief Minister                                Dated: ------------------------

Proposal for Progressive Steps in Rehabilitation

1. District administration in Hunza/ Govt of GB declares Ataabad lake as 'private property' of the LSO formed by the affected families (381 households) - and updates government records; as such all economical activities connected with the lake will be the source of income for the present and coming generations of the affected families.

  • A ferry company is immediately formed. The requirement of finances is met from a small portion of Government allocations announced for the rehabilitation, funds donated by the foreign governments, civil society, NGOs and philanthropists. Following will be the broad outline of the functioning:
  • The shares of this company are given to the affected households in proportion to the value of property lost.
  • Upper Hunza residents and their goods are charged at actuals, while all the others are charged at a rate designed to earn a reasonable profit for this company.
  • Any investor other than the LSO of affectees will pay 'user fee' to the LSO for any ferry service (or any other economical activity such as fish farming/ tourism related etc.)
  • The LSO elects or selects the governance for this company and others that are listed below. Management is inducted by the governance. Principles of governance, management and financial control in accordance with the eight AKDN guide-line booklets. AKRSP to arrange training.
  • Another company or committee of the LSO initiates Fish farming with the technical guidance from the government department concerned, with domestic and export markets in sight. Indigenous expertise in fishing industry is already available through traders in Karachi, hailing from Nazimabad .
  • 4.     Yet another company or committee of the LSO looks after tourist related activities, such as those current in Kashmir Lakes (Dull, Wuller etc).
  • 5.     For large scale projects such as electrical generation, the affected populations get 51% shares for 100% investment by in country or foreign investors(incl government investment)- Govt of GB to legislate on top priority (Law on IPPs in Pakistan may be adopted with minor modification to ensure requirements as noted)
  • 6.     Apart from generating electricity the water channel is also used for irrigating the barren land belonging to Ganish villages within Hunza Boundaries (well defined in 1901 judgment).This is preferably donated to affected households ( Recall historical practice in Hunza of ‘ADOPTION INTO A CLAN AS A BROTHER) or else reasonable charges are paid to the traditional owners.
  • 7.     Land plots are allocated in proportion to the property lost through landslide and/lake engulfment, and development costs are met through the resources mentioned above.
  • 8.     All these activities are supervised by District Administrations but executed by Agencies such as AKRSP and LSO combination.
  • 9.     Submitted for consideration of the action committee, elected representatives, VOs/WOs of the affected villages, government of GB, AKRSP and Civil Society organizations such as council in Hunza.
NOTE: Emotional attachment and demand to regain the engulfed properties by dredging/blasting etc may render the rehabilitation plans unrealizable for an indefinite period with indefinite results with associated enormous costs.