Ish Pa Ta. Salam, the Kailasha greeting. We learn something new everyday.My recent trip to Chitral was not my first and most certainly will not be my last. It is a corner of Pakistan that continues to reveal more and more of its splendor every time I visit. I can write reams on its breathtaking beauty, the Hindukush heights trails, the splendid Ayun Fort Inn’s botanical garden and incredible Chitrali culinary delights in the numerous valleys of Chitral, which is what I had come to Chitral for. But what I am going to write about, is the abdication of the state’s responsibility towards Chitral. Chitral is KPK’s largest district with a population of approximately 500,000 according to the 2017 census. The district is a series of valleys nestled around the Hindukush range of mountains and hence traveling to and from any place requires a network of roads which unfortunately do not exist. Where travel should take an hour takes four because the road either do not exist or the dirt road has potholes and boulders the size of you do not want to know. Cars practically cannot function in Chitral because the roads infrastructure is so bad. There is no public transportation either, so it is a common sight to see people on the roadside waiting to get a hitch ride to their destination. I was pleasantly surprised that social norms and cultural barriers didn’t prevent this, in fact the sense of community and assistance is so strong that many stop and help; I like that.In that vein the Sarhad Rural Support Program SRSP is like a god send for Chitral. This support organization has provided hydra power to areas where government has abdicated its responsibility to provide electricity. All along Mulkow and Terich Valleys in upper Chitral, I saw the hydra powerhouses along the Chitral River, which light up thousands of homes now, where there was none before. Imagine children doing homework in darkness? Women cooking in absolute darkness? Imagine the sanitation system, water system, if there was any, in the absence of power? Are we living in the 21st century? Should anyone live like this in Pakistan? What should be the priorities of governments in Pakistan? We’ve had local government and three so called elected democratic governments come but what are the elected representatives doing for Chitral? Where are the funds going? Isn’t this what 18th amendment was suppose to achieve? Each district receives what? What does it need? Chitral needs basic health units in each cluster of villages with trained local health workers, a quality school for girls and boys, electricity and gas so they can protect their environment & roads so they are able to access the world/markets. These are basic fundamental rights. Before anything else this is required. It is not an option it is what government is there for. This is the security people of Chitral demand and is their right.In the absence of electricity and gas, Chitrali households use wood for all their needs: warmth & cooking. Imagine the impact on our environment, the mountains getting denuded. Before anyone screams billion tree tsunami I visited the sights of the plantations project in Boonie Valley and Mulkow the locals told me the rate of survival of the billion trees planted projected in Chitral is less than 10% primarily because of no water. We have to get the basics sorted before stunts and projects without sustainable infrastructure in place. Come on, it’s a fabulous idea to plant trees but if there is no water infrastructure in place how are the plants going to survive. Chitral has acute water shortage because there is no water management infrastructure in place, people pipe where they can from the river, block, stress without any planning or equitable access to all in the area. This is as much a governance matter as much as a technical water management development issue. My suggestion to government of KP and the relevant authorities at the centre would be to use Sarhad Rural Support Programme to provide basic fundamental needs by investing in both the local people with income generation projects which supports tourism, crafts, food value chain inputs and using social mobilization and civic development to develop local homes (low income homes program commitment) roads networks and health & education facilities. Use the people to help themselves. Invest in your people.Public private partnerships with corporate social responsibility can also be roped in to add value and financing where there is a gap. For example, in Shogran village, the locals were willing to build a bridge with their labour, local stonewood what they need is cement and steel. Why can’t the local government connect them with Cherat Cement, Bestway Cement and steel mill companies use CSR? SRSP can monitor and ensure quality compliance and training where it is needed for safety. Let’s utilize all what is possible to improve the lives of Pakistanis who deserve better not as charity, but as a fundamental right as citizens of Pakistan. Shogran village and Chitral certainly deserve it. Help make this a reality.