By Fazal Amin Beg
While serving the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) as a development researcher and consultant in 2009, besides other tasks I was also assigned an interesting and important study to explore social and political leadership and governance features at the grassroots level that to what extent a social worker or a person of the civil society could be effective in positively or productively contributing towards political sector in his or her concerned constituency. For this purpose, in-depth interviews of three respondents on their life history was taken from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral Region. The life histories allowed us to know that how the personalities of the respected political representatives evolved from the childhood to the present day and to what extent they could be effective in contributing towards social development by using his or her political makeup.
Three public representatives of their time at union council level were thus within the study loop: one each from Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral region who shared their impressive and detailed biographies that clearly provide deep insights on the subject matter in addition with their perspectives on socio-political governance and development. Based on in-depth interview, I therefore share biography of Nooruddin of Chitral Region in addition with his perceptions and practical experiences on social and political governance and development in this publication.
I’m pretty sure that the readers will take keen interest to read through the different tides of the respondents and see it cross with their individual, collective and regional contexts as one can learn great inspirations and lessons out of the life long experiences of the key informants around different themes of overall societal and cultural development.
Developed on the perceptions and experiences of Noor Uddin, a community cum political leader (elected representative) from Chitral district of khayber-Pukhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan, this study aims to explore the following facets: (1) motivation, plans, practices, achievements and challenges before and after being elected; and (2) perceptions of the constituency about the member, whether the elected member feels accountable to the voters or the V/WOs or whether he /she were caught up in the exploitative network of the system. The data was collected through an in-depth and semi-structured interview of more than three hours.
Noor Uddin, 46, is from the Rondur village (18 km away from the district headquarters) and belongs to the Katurey lineage group within the ruling family of Chitral. He has six siblings and five children. Noor Uddin got his intermediate level education (FA) from the Islamia College, Peshawar (a very prestigious educational institution) in 1982. Although, he was a BA student in the same college but he couldn’t continue it due to unrest (inter-students violence) in the institution.
Noor Uddin’s initial social/voluntary work starts from the Pakistan Boy Scouts in Chitral when he was pursing his secondary level education. During his college period, he served the Chitral Students Association (CSA) as a joint secretary. Being a football player, he used to prepare the football teams, take them for the competition and win the cups.
After returning from his college at the age of 24, Noor Uddin contributed in the formation of the AKRSP’s initiated VWOs in the Bakthtuli Cluster of the UC in 1983/4. He further contributed voluntarily in the AKRSP’s projects (in the UC) such as irrigation channels, roads, bridges, river erosion obstructions and the like.
Noor Uddin and his team/group (of footballs in college life) mobilized and managed the community for voluntary laboring in constructing a girls school in collaboration with the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) up to middle level, as previously it was at primary level. The school was further upgraded up to secondary level (matriculation); and then to intermediate level for the last two years. Afterwards, Noor Uddin mobilized his team and the community and formed a cluster of VWOs (Bakthuli Cluster) in order to bring development projects (at a broader level) such as hydropower generation. Consequently, in collaboration with the AKRSP, Kdinj’s hydropower station in Bilpoq (within Bakhtuli) the community completed.
In order to address the severe need of quality education, Noor Uddin motivated his father and donated 1 chakorum (108 x 108 sq ft) of land for the English medium community school; and then mobilized his team and the community; and in collaboration with the AKESP and Community Citizen Board (CCB), an English medium community school was established that runs currently at secondary level.
His other development projects include formation of Rondur WO and Karimabad Area Development Organization (KADO) besides motivating president of the VCCs and community for the matching grant (on behalf of the community) to the schools.
Expressing in views on the sustainability of an organization, Noor Uddin suggests for bringing change in the leadership and other management team of an organization as per bylaws. Otherwise, the management team (serving from the beginning) would be like a chodari or mehtar (autocrats/dictators) and the members would be fed-up from them. Determination in managing time and including all stakeholders for a communal cause is compulsory for a social worker and one can easily manage the time for his/her home, family and the community instead of wasting it behind useless things.
Noor Uddin deciphers the following qualities for a social worker/community leader: s/he should (1) be very cool-minded person; 2) spare time to serve the community; 3) opt and take lead to donate financial or land resources (if s/he can for example, in construction of a school or others), sometimes (whenever required); and 4) interact with and speak to people in soft/gentle manner.
Noor Uddin considers his motivation for social services a blessing of God, the Almighty. Besides, an initial survey of the AKRSP in Chitral revealed high poverty of his cluster area (Bokhtuli) that touched his heart and he decided to intensify his voluntary/social work. He is optimistic that in the next 10-20 years, voluntarism would increase as the people are getting education and awareness, although he also fears some risks for its sustainability because of insecurity and high prices of the commodities.
Different societies experience different types of challenges and issues in development. In his area, Noor Uddin identifies a crucial challenge: that is, misinterpretation of religion against social work. In addition, he observes that some public opinion-makers use Islam as a shield for gender discrimination. In response to a question about his biggest achievements among many, Noor Uddin terms his land donation and community mobilization for the establishment of the Community English medium school as the biggest one.
Switch over to the political field: Keeping in view the social/voluntary services of Noor Uddin, the community nominated/selected him as a representative in the local government (introduced in Chitral in 2001) for the UC Karimabad. He thus came in politics. He contested election for the position of Nayib Nazim and succeeded. He is affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP).
Noor uddin doesn’t feel that there is much difference between social and political work as the local governance system is derived out and influenced by the social governance. He thinks that the UC members could not prove themselves to run the local governance system (LGOS) to the its spirit and there seems gap that contrasts it with the social governance.
The people of Noor Uddin’s constituency feel satisfied from his performance, leadership and development activities. Electing Noor uddin for the second time could evidence it.
Noor uddin wishes and advises the people towards the social work. He adds: “Whenever I get opportunity, I will be carrying on the social work, time and again.
Before becoming an elected rep, Noor Uddin did not fully aware of the local governance structure and he knew it later by getting trainings and manuals, especially by AKRSP in 2003. Being a deputy administrator, Noor uddin receives a monthly stipend of Rs. 2,000/- in addition with payment of his telephone expenses at a limited level.
Noor Uddin counts some of his crucial political contributions. The recommendations in Multi Stakeholders’ Forum (MSF) were presented in the UC Karimabad, which were owned politically by all members in the UC and some of them were even implemented. The community development projects in the Karimabad UC now come from the grassroots (e.g. VWOs) to the respective UC member and to the UC.
Noor Uddin, being a deputy administrator is a member of the Tehsil Council. He presented a resolution in the Tehsil Council about local government’s partnerships (esp. sharing financial resources on developmental activities) of the Tehsil council with the AKRSP (and other reliable organizations), which was approved some projects carried out. Second, on the recommendation of Noor Uddin, the Tehsil Council constructed a female waiting room in the DHQ hospital, Chitral. In addition, currently, all 24 Nazimeen (Administrators) of the District Council Chitral (DCC) unanimously approved a resolution about and acknowledged the LSOs that the government and other organizations should provide them the development funds. But it seems difficult with the government departments or organizations as they want their own interests and monopoly.
Noor uddin defines the following qualities necessary for a political worker/representative: s/he should 1) not have his vested interest; 2) have the enthusiasm of serving the community; and 3) be an honest person.
Due to the exploitative and malpractices in the public sector organizations, Noor Uddin is annoyed and frustrated He says: “When a social worker/community leader becomes an elected representative, it becomes suffocating to notice or observe the unfairness and unaccountability in the public sector organizations.” Noor Uddin shows his serous concerns that in the local governance system, there is a clear written procedure for the accountability but that has not been brought into practice. The mechanism of accountability is through the CCB. The Tehsil Council has the power and authority that if a member did not work adequately, s/he could be dismissed.
As a councilor, Noor uddin brought 5 projects in his cluster such as “protective bunds” at two places; and provided funds for maintenance of two irrigation channels.As Deputy Administrator, he worked mostly through the CCB as there is little risk of commission by the government employees; and provided funds to the CCB for women frequently for two years in line with clean drinking water.
Noor Uddin gives two crucial recommendations. (1) There is a weakness in the management side of the LSO; and the social mobilizers of the LSO need to improvement their performance and learn lessons from the AKRSP’s social mobilizers; (2) the tasks of political reps and government organizations are to provide facilities to and support people, but conversely they tease them. These people therefore need appropriate training to track them on the straight path as per law.
At the end, Noor Uddin advises the youth to come forward in serving their community by taking care of the following points. S/he should come out of his/her vested interests, should be honest and removed greed from their hearts and minds.
This paper is about Noor Uddin of Karimabad Union Council in Central Chitral, Pakistan. He is a community leader in the social sector and deputy administrator (Nayib Nazim) in the political sector. The story revolves around Noor Uddin’s perceptions and vast experiences engrained in the society and unveils his motivation, plans, practices, achievements and challenges before and after being elected as a political representative.
The story is mainly divided into three parts. In the background as the first part, the paper provides Noor uddin’s personal and familial information; in the second part, it discusses his contributions in the social sector; and the third part deals with his political pursuance and contributions in the society.
PERSONAL FAMILIAL Information
Noor Uddin belongs to the Rondur village in Central Chitral. Rondur is 18 km away from the district headquarters. He belongs to the Katurey lineage, tracing it within the ruling family of Chitral. He has three brothers, three sisters and five children (three sons and two daughters). His lineage members live almost in all UCs of Chitral. Abdul Samad Khan, Noor Uddin’s grandfather (just three generations before) out-migrated from Dareen, a village in Central Chitral, and settled in Rondur; while Abdul Samad Khan’s brothers lived in Dareen.
Noor Uddin got his early education from a maktab (elementary school) in Bilpoq village. There was no school building at that time and Noor Uddin along with other school children therefore used to sit in the compound of Bilpoq Jamatkhana in summer. In winter, there was room, they would get education and continued it up to 5th class. He acquired his middle level education from Shoghor, 8 km away from his village; and got his secondary level education from the government high school, Central Chitral by staying in his mother’s paternal house, Noor Uddin did his matriculation in 1979. He studied and did his FA from a very prestigious educational institution, Islamia College, Peshawar, in 1982. He was pursing his BA (final) from the same college but could not continue it because of a clash between two students groups (Islami Jamiat Talaba & Peoples’ Students Federation) in Khyber Medical College, Peshawar. “A medical student of final year from the Deer district was killed and many wounded in this bloody clash. The university was closed and we were forced to leave the hostel because of insecurity. We could escape to reach in the city and then I reached at my home in Chitral. The university/college was closed for more than six months and I couldn’t continue my bachelor’s level education,” relates Noor Uddin.
CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR
Engagement with the Social Activities
In voluntary capacity, Noor Uddin contributed to the Pakistan Boy Scouts in Chitral as a scout when he was pursing his secondary level education in Chitral. When Noor Uddin was in the Islamia College, there he served the Chitral Students Association as a joint secretary. Noor Uddin highly rates and establishes that he made foundation for the social activities during his college life while he was playing football and he used to prepare the football teams, take them for the football competition and win the football cups .
After returning from his college, when the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) initiated its function in Chitral, Noor Uddin (now 24 years old) had his due roles in the development of the AKRSP’s initiations in VWOs’ formation in the Bakthtuli Cluster-except for two villages who still haven’t VWOs)—including the villages like Bilpoq, Buliyo and four villages of Bakthuli, then Rondur and Kaset etcetera. The AKRSP then provided Productive Physical Infrastructure (PPIs) to all villages in the cluster: for instance, there were projects of irrigation channels in Kaset and Rondur; and other villages had roads, bridges, river safety blockages and the like.
Formation of the Community Based School for Girls
The above mentioned projects by the AKRSP and the community were being carried out smoothly, but Noor Uddin and his team/group (of footballs in college life) focused their attention more on education side. “First and foremost, I motivated my team members particularly towards the female education. Although, there was a primary school but after acquiring this level of education, the girls were unable to proceed ahead walking for 5 or 6 km out of their villages in pursuance of middle level education. We therefore mobilized the community and talked to the AKESP. The AKESP thus provided us the materials for construction of the school and the community offered their voluntary laboring besides providing gravels, sands and land. A gentleman of Bokthuli provided the land. Ultimately, the girls school was constructed and established up to middle level, as previously it was at primary level.
The AKESP then suggested that beyond this level, it may be difficult for run the classes, it therefore advised that the community should run the next level at cluster level, as the cluster was already formed. Noor Uddin and his team therefore accepted the advice. “We thus continued the girls’ school up to the middle level by fixing the school fees. Then we continued it up to secondary level (matriculation); and now for the last two years, we have further continued it up to the intermediate level through the community-based initiative”, explains Noor Uddin.
Challenges faced in establishing the Girls School
When Noor Uddin and his team established the girls school, most of the people were not ready to admit their daughters therein. Those who had understanding to provide education to both boys and girls, they used to send their children to the government school as mentioned above. But those who opposed this initiative said: “What will we will get out of girls’ education? They cannot get time from their domestic chores, and if we send the girls to school, all the daily chores will be hanged on.” Noor Uddin and his team members such as Sher Hayat (who is convener of the CBS from that time) decided to take the youths along with them and motivate and mobilize the community village by village. They used the doctrines/directives of Islam in line with female education as effective tools that both girls and boys should be given education together and that there won’t be any loss for them. The people were not like the others as we can see that within the Ismaili community, there is no social hindrance for girls education . However, these people had some reservation in extending laboring.
Formation of the Bokhtuli Cluster
After inception and formation of the VWOs in the area, the campaign continued for and schools established. “Noor Uddin and his team planned to form a cluster for VWOs, as some other parts of Chitral clusters had been formed, and the AKRSP was giving projects also on the basis of clusters. The team under Noor Uddin’s supervision therefore decided to reorganize and reactivate the VWOs and then to form a cluster so that to work for the hydropower in the area in collaboration with the AKRSP.
Noor Uddin and his group decided/recommended to form a cluster to bring project such as hydropower in the area. For this purpose, they needed to work very hard. They formed a group of their age numbering almost ten. The team was from different villages who had been motivated to form a cluster and get the benefits. The tem members were also members of their respective VOs. Notable among them was Afzal Aman who was also president of the Local Council for Chitral. The cluster formation team convinced the community that the purpose of VWOs is not only depositing their savings, rather to discuss all communal issues and address them through these platforms. Noor Uddin and his team thus activated the VWOs in 1992/3 and chose two members from each VO (e.g., the presidents and Managers or members), mostly they were presidents and Managers of their VOs. All these got together and made up an executive body.
Establishment of an English Medium School
In order to improve the quality of education, Noor Uddin and his team thought and decided to establish an English medium school. His team members were worried about the landsite to construct the school. In this connection, Noor Uddin motivated his father and he donated more or less one chokorum of land (8 kanal=1acre). “In Rondur, our village, almost the entire land belongs to us, and it was necessary to provide/donate land for the school and a poor cannot give”, adds Noor Uddin. Besides donation and availability of land, there was also problem of constructing the school as the people were poor. Noor Uddin’s family had also not that much capital to entirely construct the school building. Noor Uddin and his group therefore contacted the AKESP, if it could provide the materials and the community will share its laboring, which the AKESP accepted and collaborated with the community. The school building completed and the classes had started. In 2008, the first batch of the school appeared and passed their matriculation exam.
Challenges faced: For the establishing this school, Noor Uddin and his team had to encounter a big challenge. Many people were not ready for this venture that they would have to contribute their free-laboring, pay the fees and so on; but Noor Uddin and his team took were determined and the same approach by involving key persons and campaigned by visiting people village by village using the VWO’s forum; and convinced the people for the quality education, although there were the schools of the government, AKESP and CBS. In order to admit one’s child in the English medium school, one had to come to Central Chitral, but daily commutation was difficult for the children. Or they had the option to stay in someone’s house (relative or friend). It was thus a very difficult job for the children of 4 years old to travel (walk) daily more than 10 km distance. Noor Uddin and his team managed to convince the local community that their children will stay with them, the vehicles’ rent/hire will be saved, and ensured the people that the fees of their children will be lesser than other schools in the area. The school fees of this English medium school is therefore relatively lesser than other schools in region,
The initiation for this school was taken from a building (provided by Noor Uddin), then a portion of the school building at primary level competed in collaboration with the AKESP and the children were shifted in that. The second portion of the building at middle (up to 8th level) was completed through the community’s donations. The third portion of the school building up to secondary level classes, Noor Uddin thought to complete through the Citizen Community Board (CCB), when he will come in power in the local government because the CCB was also formed in his area.
A proposal was thus submitted to the district government for the budiling construction and it was accepted by granting more than Rs. 400,000/- with a condition of 20% community’s share (equal to Rs. 100,000/-). At the middle level of the school, construction of the building involved more or less Rs.500,000/-.
The AKESP had initiated a program with the name of matching grant for the schools. For instance, if a community, through the Village Education Committees (VECs), shares Rs. 250,00/- for the school improvement, the AKESP would share Rs. 500,000/-. In this connection, Bokhtuli Cluster succeeded to acquire the grant thrice: twice for the CBS, and once for the English medium school. It is interesting to note that the community leaders of the area used the Village Conservation Committees (VCCs) for the purpose of providing the matching grants when it was difficult for the poor community to donate/share time and again. “We had formed three VCCs in three villages of our cluster, which are Bilpoq-Bughyoq Area; Bokhtuli and Kaset. These VCCs had huge amount of money and for the purpose of the matching grants for the schools, we requested the VCC, being the same community organization, to contribute the amount of money payable from the community’s behalf. “Initially, the reps of VCCs did not accept this idea/proposal, we then started motivating people of the three villages by going house to house and made them understand about the pros and cons; and they accepted finally and provided Rs. 250,000/- for the CBS, and Rs. 250,000/- for the English medium school; then we got one million rupees from the AKESP. “Now, we can run the CBS for many years in future as there is Rs. 1.5 million fixed in bank and get the profits,” says Noor Uddin confidently. The salaries of the staff members of the schools are not fully dependent upon the school fees, rather there is also a share from the profit of this saving; and fixing the the school fees at low level and there is no burden on the students/parents. Teachers recruited for the school have their academic qualification above intermediate level and no matriculate teacher is there; and the lowest salaries paid to the teachers are Rs. 4,000/-. The subjects taught in the English medium school are those compulsory at national level such as English, Urdu, Islamiat, Pakistan Studies; and the other subjects include math, science, social studies, and so on.
Establishing the hydropower stations
After formation of the cluster, Noor Uddin and his team through the platform of the cluster requested the AKRSP for the provision of two hydropower stations. The AKRSP accepted it with a condition of completion by the community before Lady Diana’s visit to Pakistan so that she should inauguration that in a year; and the community representatives agreed. Kdinj’s hydropower station in Bilpoq (within Bakhtuli) the community completed before the visit of Lady Diana. But because of the security issue, Lady Diana’s program was cancelled; and the Duke came and inaugurated the power station.
Challenges faced: The VO could not construct the second hydropower because lack of fund provided by the AKRSP. Although, the AKRSP according to its capacity, had provided the funds but for the first hydropower more resources were utilized as day and night the community worked on the project in constructing the long channel. The AKRSP reps thought that the heads of the VO embezzled the fund. “We thus convened them and gave them the exact accounting for the expenses involved; and that the VO reps had not misappropriated the fund. They were then satisfied.
In a society, there are different groups of people having both positive and negative mentalities. “Likewise, in our villages, some negative people started speculation that 3 km of channel for the hydropower was constructed and further channel construction would come up,” relates Noor Udin. Maintaining these channels would ultimately be difficult for the community. Therefore, it is important to construct the second hydropower at another place, which had short distance channel. In result of such conflicts, Noor Uddin tried to reconcile and make them understand. The challengers were constructing the hydropower in a ravine; and there was risk of scanty of water and drought. The social organizer and engineers of the AKRSP did visit them and tried to make them understand that the hydropower at that place could not be successful; but they did not heed. The professionals and other AKRSP reps then finally ageed by sayng that if the community is happy in doing that, let them to do so. “We also did work along with them in this project, but we were not happy,” describes Noor Uddin. Afzal Aman, the Chief Patron of the cluster, was also from that area, where the people were constructing the hydropower and four VOs had separated. He tried to inculcate them but they did not accept and Afzal Aman resigned from his position in a protest that some of these people cracked the cluster. Finally, there emerged two clusters: one with the name of Boktuli and another as Bilpoq; and “we were also ready to carry out our work,” Noor Uddin states. Those who had argued that the community won’t be able to maintain the channel, they proved “right.” Noor Uddin and team/group requested the AKRSP again that they need to redefine the channel so that to easily maintain the 3or 4 km long channel, as sometimes due to flood or rain the electric supply cuts. The AKRSP accepted it, reduced the length of the channel, and so far the power functions adequately. Amazingly, those people who had constructed the power station in the risky ravine, in two years period the ravine’s water dried up; and the hydropower of the opposite group failed. “Some of that community members pursued me and I reminded them my recommendations/advice. I went to the AKRSP reps and requested them and they reminded me the same technicality that I told the community members. However, the AKRSP very kindly provided funding from the PPF and those villages of the cluster got electricity again in 2008 (by constructing the power station of 50 KV) .
Formation of the Women Organization in Rondur
Interestingly, in other villages of Bokhtuli, there were the WOs from the beginning; but no WO in Rondur until 2004. Noor Uddin therefore motivated the people for the formation of the women forum; and the WO Rondur was formed in 2004. Noor Uddin reveals the story in this manner: “Our family, as I mentioned earlier, keeps our women inside the house in veil and doesn’t allow them to go outside. In such circumstances, who will permit them to form a WO. In Rondur, there could be either my mother, or my wife or my brother. So, our women would have then to go outside the house, if WO was formed.” Noor Uddin however motivated his family that the women should not be imprisoned in the house and could hardly convince his family members in bringing them out of the traditional norms. The WO was thus formed. “I then asked my wife to mobilize the womenfolk even to go up to the cluster level”, Noor Uddin adds. The women then formed a cluster of women organizations (having 11 WOs); and afterwards a citizen community board (CCB) for women was also brought into existence. Through the CCB for women, composed of 4 members from each WOs. Noor Uddin’s wife is head of the cluster for women and when she travels to other villages within the cluster, Noor Uddin’s mother becomes angry because of the traditional thoughts. Noor Uddin then convinces and makes her mother understand about such social benefits to the poor women.
Formation of KADO
“The concept of LSO had not come yet and we had formed the LSO with the name of Karimabad Area Development Organization (KADO) in 1996. At that time, it was not named as LSO rather as an NGO,” Noor Uddin narrates. Within the Karimabad UC, there are five big clusters. The representatives/community leaders thought that there should be an umbrella upon these clusters to link them together. KADO was initially registered under social welfare act. It had the president, vice president, general secretary and so on. After some years, KADO was then registered within the company act in 2003 and became a full fledged NGO.
Change of leadership in the Social Sector Organizations
Noor Uddin suggests that in the social sector organizations, there should be opportunities for everyone to voluntarily serve the community. If a person remains on a key position for several years, s/he would become like a chowdry or mihtrar (political ruler or feudal lords). Second, other members of the society would become fed up from them and will loose their enthusiasm in social and voluntary organizations. One has to give time and other resources to the organization; and the people should be accustomed to it: change is therefore a must.
Managing Time for the Family and Society
Reflecting on time management, Noor Uddin says that if a person is considerate s/he can have a lot of time and can manage it but we don’t mange our time. We spend time behind useless things, the time elapses; or if it is spent for the fruitful things, it goes on in this manner as well. One needs to struggle for his/her livelihoods. If one spends only one day by planning that this day s/he will spare for so and so social activities, it could be manged easily. Sometimes, there could be more engagements and activities in a week. For example, a meeting of the cluster in the fist day or the wek; and the second day could be LSO’s meeting; the third day could be meeting of any other organizations like the school’s board of governor’s meeting. In such circumstances, we sometimes cannot give time for the social activities. But if a social worker is determined, s/he can manage it. “Actually, what is there that we have forgotten the day of death. If we remember the death then one can fulfill all these commitments because one would thinks that in the day of judgment where the rewards will be given to him or her. If one would realize such facts and facets, s/he will tolerate all difficulties and manage time also,” reveals Noor Uddin. Tightened situations have come upon Noor Uddin and he needed to give time for his family but because of emergencies, he had to prefer the communal meetings and deal with the situations. “There comes some familial issues, but I make my family understand that God will give the rewards.” In this way, families of social workers/volunteers also give sacrifice.
Inclusiveness in and Satisfaction from the Social Work
There was a mound (a small forestland) above Noor Uddin’s house in Rondur on which there was case between him and the neighboring village. Noor Uddin communicated to the people to get benefit from the forestland and there won’t be any objection, but they (the beneficiaries could not take the ownership of the land as the forestland belonged to Noorr Uddin that was located above his house. “But they didn’t accept it and there was a sue against me,” says Noor Uddin. However, the decision came in Noor Uddin’s favor after a litigation. On this matter, there was a tense between Noor Udin and the neighboring villagers. After completion of the power station when the time of electricity distribution came, all people thought that Noor Uddin, who was then the chief patron of the cluster, would not give the electricity to those people who litigated against him as they (people of Pachdi) were not members in the VO Rondur (mentioned earlier about it). “But despite this fact, I provided them membership in our VO and saved those people to pay Rs. 5,000/- per household. When the time of electricity distribution came, the electricity was, first and foremost, given to these rival people, after motivating the cluster members (some of whom were hesitant).
The positive effect of the above related story came in the form of a shift in those people’s harsh behavior with Noor Uddin or his family. After their inclusion in the VO Rondur, those people became very social; and one of the gentleman from that village is now vice chairman of the BOG of the school. An electricity committee was formed and a man from that village became chairman of this committee.
Performing such type of tasks in including different people in the communal commitments and obtaining positive results thus become a great source of satisfaction for a social worker. A social worker needs to leanr a lesson that the work s/he is carried out for the sake of the poor people (or to those who cannot do anything), s/he would then enjoy the work would contribute productively.
Qualities of Social Worker
Noor Uddin defines the following qualities for a social worker: (1) s/he should be very cool-minded person; 2) should spare time to serve the community; 3) sometimes (whenever required), a social worker in personal capacity has to donate financial or land resources (for example, in construction of a school or others), so s/he should opt and take a lead; and 4) should interact with and speak to people in soft/gentle manner.
Motivation for the Social Work
Noor Uddin describes that he cannot consciously establish his view that “due to so and so factor, he was influenced or motivated towards the voluntary social activities, rather “it was the blessings of God, the Almighty, that I could volunteer myself for the services of the people,” he descries. He believes and realizes that the works he does, he will get the fruits/benefits both in this world and the next.
He further states that in its initial period, the AKRSP carried out a survey and that revealed poverty was high in the Bokhtuli area, and that touched Noor Uddin to volunteer himself for the social work. He says: “as I was relatively better than those community members and I thought to spare my time and resources for their development.”
The State of Voluntary/Social Work in Future
In the coming 10-20 years, the voluntary/social work would increase as the people are getting awareness; and in matters of welfare there comes blessing. Noor Uddin is therefore optimistic that the voluntary work will further promote, although he also envisions some challenges taking into accounts the country’s insecurity situations: for instance, high prices of commodities, and so on. The people would need to work hard for their survival. If the situation remained so, it is possible that people may not be able to spare more time; and if they stepped back, there could come up some challenges in the voluntarism.
Current Challenge faced as a Social Worker
The current challenge Noor Uddin strongly feels is bringing religion in the middle and misinterpreting it by saying that that this work is wrong and is against the teaching of Islam; or making gender discrimination and imbalance when some people advocate to streamline the womenfolk.
Achievement in the Social Work
The biggest achievement before Noor Uddin in relation with his social work he thinks is his contributions and donation of land for the community English medium school named Trichmir Community Based School (TCBS).
Disappointment from/Failure in Social Work
After motivating women and forming the women cluster, Noor Uddin advised them to make his (Noor Uddin’s) old building (where initially the English medium school was run) as handicrafts’ center for them. That is a center, now; but the AKRSP provided fund from the poverty alleviation fund (PPF) and formed a poverty reduction committee. The system, a per policy, was to distribute that among the people as credit so that they could stand on their own feet. After a specific period, the credit had to be returned and circulated again. Noor Uddin disagreed with this idea that after three years, the poor borrowers could say that he had no money. In such circumstances, what could be expected from him/her in returning the credit? Rather than alleviating poverty, it would further burden the poor people. Noor Uddin therefore recommended that the poor women should be given training and from the amount of money (as given in credit), they should be provided the materials to prepare, for instance, uniforms for different schools, and they should carry out work in the field of sewing and cutting, which will contribute to their sources of income and the mandate of the poverty reduction would be met.
“For this purpose, I had already taken initiative. There was a woman councilor, named Razia, was asked to contribute/provide the stuffs such as sewing machines from the district council and the committee will buy the materials and will run the states of affairs”, describes Noor Uddin. For a certain period, the project functioned but there has come a break in the middle; and there is a lack of interest. Noor Uddin hopes that this issues will ultimately be brought to the logical end.
There is no fixed tool for motivation. One has to opt different approaches. The most successful tool in this regard is one’s humility/gentleness. Some people opt for the harsh behavior but that worsens the situation. “From the beginning, I have been very soft; or on other way, you can term that I am a cowardice man. In my life, so far, I have not quarreled with anyone. This is the blessing of God. In many occasions, I encountered stiff situation but I have a strong spirit of tolerance. If people become emotional and angry on me, I do tolerate it as I have been experiencing and practicing it for a long time”, Noor Uddin reveals confidently. This has created a positive image of Noor Uddin before the community members and they do regard him. That is why when he says something, people get motivated. “In rare cases, we need to be stiff. For instance, I was talking about matching grant’s contribution by the VCC. The then respected president of the VCC (who also contributed enormously in the cluster, being president of the cluster as well), was refusing to provide money from the VCC’s account on the community’s behalf for the matching grant with the AKESP. Noor Uddin talked to the members of the VCC and all of them agreed in this regard but president was refuter. “I had to become stiff at this moment in saying that if you are not paying this amount of money, it means you’re suffering the entire community; and you yourself would be responsible for the loss in future.” The refusing president of the VCC then accepted when Noor Uddin became a bit harsh and this stiff behavior worked.
CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE POLITICAL SECTOR
Motivation for Political Work
The local government system was introduced in Chitral in 2001; and there are currently 24 local UCs in Chitral. The people of Karimabad cluster/LSO, narrates Noor Uddin, thought that the newly introduced local political system was complicated. They therefore decided that rather than going for election in the UC, they would be opt for selection. A plan was made that each cluster within Karimabad UC should be asked to provide a member/representative whereby those cluster members would then select and decide for their Nazim and Nayib Nazim. In this manner, there was a quota/place for Noor Uddin’s cluster to select a member/representative. Here the cluster members selected Noor Uddin as their representative. Noor Uddin suggested his cluster members that he was a member of the AKRSP’s board and chief of the cluster and he could not go to this platform. But the cluster members did not accept and chose Noor Uddin as their rep by recommending that when Noor Uddin would be in the mainstream, he shall have to apply either for the Nazim or Nayib Nazim. The selected cluster reps met in Susum and Noor Uddin indicated that he was also a candidate for the Nayaib Nazim. There were many candidates for this position and there seemed more implications. Noor Uddin thus voluntarily withdrew his name for this position keeping in view more rifting situation. He along with some other colleagues however suggested to opt for the selection instead of election. For instance, if there are 20 seats and 20 candidates submit their forms, there can’t be election. If there was one more, there could come up election. In short, Noor Uddin became a councilor.
From the beginning, Noor uddin reiterates, he had his aim to address and alleviate poverty in his area if comes to the political field. Moreover, “there could be something (an overall capacity) in me and that is why the community trust and gave me opportunity to lead and choose me for the leadership, he relates.
Differences and Similarities between Social and Political Work
Noor uddin argues doesn’t feel that there is much difference between social and political work as the local governance system is influenced by the social governance. “For example,” he says, “look at the UC in which all villages have their representation. There was also a village council in the entire Pakistan. When we further observe the system of Citizen Community Board (CCB) in which there is the community’s inclusion component to in the development,” he describes. For a person who does work in social sector, for him or her it seems similar with and influenced by the social governance system, he further narrates.
The difference created seems because of us being in the political office. We could not prove ourselves to run the local governance system (LGOS) to the its spirit” and there seems gap that contrasts it. To illustrate, the provincial government of NWFP did not (whether previously the MMA’s government) and doesn’t (or currently the ANP’s government) own and support rather they oppose the local governance system (LOGOS).
Election Contest, Achievement and Party Affiliation
Noor Uddin took part in the political system twice and he was successful. For the first time, he went through the selection; and second time, he contested the election for the position of Nayib Nazim and succeeded. Politically, he belongs to the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP).
Views of the Peoples in the Constituency about Noor Uddin
“I cannot tell the people’s views in my constituency about me as it could be partial,” Noor uddin describes. He however thinks that people have better perceptions about and satisfied from his performance, leadership and work, although he doesn’t claim that he has performed a great jobs and they like him. Bringing Noor uddin in politics for two times could also termed as evidence.
Options and Preferences: Social Worker, Political Worker or Elected Representative
Among the three options as social worker, political worker or elected representative, Noor Uddin recommends/prefers for the people to be social worker. “I would advise people to prefer social work, and whenever I get opportunity, again and again, I will be carrying on the social work. I can realize that in politics, one earns more respect and money. When one is elected as an MNA or MPA s/he is gets salary and other incentives, but the satisfaction and peace which a person acquires in the social work that cannot found in other sector, Noor Uddin describes. The reasons for preferring social work could be because s/he is selfless and non-discriminatory. If there is any vested interest that may not be included within the social work category. While in political field, s/he may commit such selfishness and come in politics or become representative and embezzle money. Interestingly, in the LGOS, the mechanism has been devised so nicely that there is no chance of corruption, “and that is why I call it as influenced by the social governance,” Noor uddin reminds. Despite such checks and balances in this mechanism, a dishonest members also opt for corruption, he adds.
Challenges faced as Deputy Administrator (Nayib Nazim)
The provincial government have created a lot of challenge for the district administrators. For instance, the funding of 2009-10 they have withheld so far; otherwise, as per rule the funds need to be released in June-July each year so that to carry out the development projects. Now, the winter will come in Chitral and there would be snowfall and we cannot work, reveals Nooruddin. Most challenges are from the provincial government.
Knowing the Local Governance Structure
Before becoming member and deputy administrator, Noor Uddin didn’t know about the structure of the local governance system (LOGOS). When he was selected as member, from the government he along with other representatives obtained training and a manual was given to them. They thus got some orientation with the system and its functions.
In 2003, the AKRSP provided the political representatives a training (TOT) of 10 days. Afterwards, materials were also given to them and they became master trainers and educated others. He learnt the about the system in this manner; and Noor Uddin considers himself yet a student in these fields despite the fact that he has acquired enormous trainings and given a lot of trainings to others.
Financial Benefits in the Political Field
Monthly, Rs. 2,000/- is being paid to Noor Uddin as stipend and an incentives in telephone expenses payment by the government is given to him at a limited level.
Through the LSOs, the AKRSP conducted Multi Stakeholders Forum (MSF) in which there were also administrators, deputy administrators, councilors, both men and women. The recommendations framed therein (were with the LSO) were presented in the UC Karimabad which were owned politically by all members in the UC and some of them were even implemented. Noor Uddin, being a deputy administrator, is also a member of the Tehsil Council. He presented a resolution in the Tehsil Council that the local government should carry out developmental activities by creating partnership (sharing financial resources with the Tehsil council; the AKRSP (as has more contribution in Chitral); and if possible the SRSP. This resolution was passed and some activities/projecs were also carried out.
In the DHQ hospital in Chitral, there was no waiting-room for women; and in partnership with the AKRSP, Tehsil Council that issue (related to women) was addressed. In addition, in the Tehsil Council, there was no room for women and in result of presenting that resolution in and acceptance by the Tehsil Council, the room for women was constructed.
Fundamental Qualities of a Political Worker
Noor uddin defines the following qualities necessary for a political worker/representative: 1) S/he should not have his vested interest; 2) s/he should have the enthusiasm of serving the community; and 3) s/he should be honest.
Frustration during the Political Tenure
“People like us who work as social worker, our mindset moulds in this way that wherever we go, we expect the work should be fair/transparent and there must not be dishonesty”, Noor Uddin says. He describes about the CCB that it is the task of this forum to give the funds to the community and the community should invest it on development sector. But Noor Uddin has his concern that even in the CCB, the professionals like engineers and others also ask for their commission (bribe), as many people have complained to Noor Uddin. Being deputy administrator, Noor Uddin has raised this issue in the Tehsil Council that this practice should be discouraged and ended; otherwise, the providing fund is useless. But no adequate steps were taken although the administrator of the Tehsil (Tehsil Nazim) also tried his level best to cope with this situation, but no improvement came and Noor Uddin is therefore very disappointed and frustrated for malpractices.
Identification of the Projects in the Constituency
In Chitral, there are 24 UCs. “Eeach member, getting fund from the provincial government or from the district to union. Whatsoever the amount of fund whether Rs. 25,000/- or 20,000/- or 50,000/- that are divided among the members. They members are asked to present/propose projects against those funds. In the LOGO ordinance, it has been descried that the project should be given on priority-basis. A member would see that what is the most important issue in UC. The issues come up in consultation with the members. The members therefore identify and propose the projects in consultation with the community. In the Karimabad UC, there is the role of VWOs and LSO in identifying and proposing the development project as the political representatives have owned the recommendations of the Multi Stakeholders’ Forum, mentioned earlier, and work accordingly.
Accountability Mechanism before the Community
In the LOGOS, there is a clear written procedure for the accountability; but that has not been brought into practice. The mechanism of accountability is through the CCB, (and the village councils, which had to be formed that had also its involvement in that mechanism). The Tehsil Council has the power and authority that if a member did not work effectively and properly, it could dismiss him/her.
Structures of Social and Political Development Organizations
As per Local Governance Order, the LOGOS has come out of the social government institutions. The difference or gap is it was not run accordingly as it has been crafted. The reason, as cited before, is intrusion and non-acceptance of the LOGOS by any provincial government even during Musharaf’s own party (PML-Q).
The MNAs/MPAs and members in the provincial assembly don’t realize their tasks that they are for the legislation; but they are stuck in other things like construction of roads, water-channels etcetera rather than leaving these tasks to the representatives at the grassroots level (UCs, TCs and DCs).
Looking for a common Platform for the Grassroots Development Organizations
Currently, all 24 Nazimeen (Administrators) of the District Council Chitral (DCC) unanimously approved a resolution about and acknowledged the LSOs that the government and other organizations should provide them the development funds. But it seems difficult with the government departments or organizations as they want their own interests and monopoly “as I shared my experience about the CCB and the engineers commission (pursuing corruption),” narrates Noor Uddin. One thing could be anticipated that when in place of the current employees, the next generation would come, there then seems a possibility to bring change in the prevalent organizational culture. With the present employees, Noor Uddin is disappointed because of their dishonesty and corruption.
Projects Accomplished in the Constituency
As a councilor: Noor uddin brought 5 projects in his cluster such as “protective or gabion walls” at two places; and provided funds for maintenance of two irrigation channels.
As Deputy Administrator: Noor uddin worked mostly through the CCB as there is little risk of commission by the government employees; and provided funds to the CCB for women frequently for two years in line with clean drinking water.
Recommendations for improvement in the Social and Political Governance
Social governance: At LSO level, there are the board of Directors and the general body. There is a weakness in the management side of the LSO. For instance, if we the social organizers haven’t regular contact with the VWOs. When we observe the social mobilizers of the AKRSP they work in the entire district and better manage the situations. The social mobilizers of the LSO are at UC level, and they need bringing improvements in their performance. The pretext before the LSO’s mobilizers is unavailability of vehicles. If a chairman tries to have a serious checks and balances upon them or other staff, they instigate people against the chairman by charging him of corruption or something else.
Political governance: The tasks of political reps and government organizations are to provide facilities to and support people, but conversely they tease them. These people therefore need appropriate training to track them on the straight path.
Conclusion and Message to the Youth and other People
Whosoever wants to contribute for their society and community, s/he should come out of his/her vested interests. S/he should be honest. Anyone working in social or other sector, but there comes up a little particle of greed, all his/her work will be useless. Neither there would be any blessing from God, nor that person would get satisfaction.
Thanks to the informant for sharing his invaluable life experiences and perspectives on governance and development. my gratefulness goes to AKRSP (especially Dr. Nazir Ahmad, Manager, Policy Dialogue and Partnership) for contracting this interesting assignmen to me in consultancy. I’m equally grateful to my kind friend Abdul Rahman Posh for his facilitation in joining me during the data collection.