The Roads of Change

Since the dawn of humanity, roads have played a pivotal road in mankind’s development, providing him access to discover and exploit resources.  Through the course of history, roads have been seen as the physical manifestation of a state’s political, economic and military objectives.  The antiquity of the Silk Road and the Grand Trunk Road is evident from the fact that these roads have played a vital role in redefining cultures throughout history. Road networks in North America, the Autobahns in Germany and various global road projects testify modern man’s rapid expansion and the economic prosperity that has been achieved.  Likewise Pakistan has also benefitted from new road networks even in areas as remote as FATA. Back in the mid 2000’s the military began to clear this area of miscreants in an attempt to stabilize this area which previously had a fragile security situation.  The second phase of stabilization required consolidation and rebuilding of infrastructure to guarantee a safe and secure return of the internally displaced people. The military has no doubt ,paid a high price in building these black topped roads of unity, peace and progress in these remote and hostile parts of the country.  These beautifully constructed new roads give the message of unity and brotherhood reassuring the native’s belief of being an important segment of the society. Moreover the locals feel safe and secure owing to the vigilant military presence in the area. The improved security condition and the construction of roads has resulted in the building of new infrastructure including schools and the first ever university in this area.  As the first ever university in this region is on the cards, the locals are glad of the possibility of receiving quality education in their own region. These road networks of peace and prosperity have also resulted in the construction of hospitals and basic heath units. It seems astonishing that this remote area whose locals were previously not even familiar with the term “Para medical” have now witnessed a sharp decline in Polio cases. As this region has finally begun to experience prosperity, technical institutes and vocational centers have been set up to make the locals, a useful part of the society by perfecting their skills. These new road networks have been crucial in stabilizing the local economy of this region which previously existed on smuggling and black money. The construction of roads and the border fencing initiative has resulted in the opening of new avenues and opportunities for the locals.  Pinus gerardiana (chilgoza) cultivation which used to be a cottage industry in the times past has now seen the light of the day with the establishment of new plants. Now this industry is progressing, therefore the cultivators who previously were bound to sell their products at lower prices are now experiencing prosperity.  Timber industry is also experiencing progress besides marble and precious stone industry. Previously the marble and precious stone industry was controlled by smugglers but with improved security conditions this industry is now prospering and gaining prominence.  Direct and easy market access for the local businessmen has resulted in the transportation of precious stones to the main markets contributing in the national growth.  Countless small hotels, tea stalls and mechanic shops have sprung up along these newly built roads providing substantial employment to local unskilled labor force. Considering the fact that this region had a history of poor governance and fragile security ,considerable improvement in the overall security and economic situation makes a huge difference. The economic prosperity of this region despite being at a smaller level in comparison with the rest of the country is the beginning of a new dawn.

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