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Higher education facilities and tourism opportunities in district Chakwal
By: Syed Hassan Murtaza
District Chakwal is strategically located near the capital with three main access points on M2, this land is blessed by God with natural beauty and hardworking people. It has lush green fields, streams, waterfalls, beautiful valleys and zig zag hilly roads. All these elements increase its natural beauty though it is situated on an arid terrain.  On the other hand, beautiful mountains filled with different type of minerals also increase the beauty of this area. Moreover, the people of this land are gifted, and numerous famous civil and military personalities of the country hail from this region.
District Chakwal is the only district of Pakistan where the ratio of rural population is higher than any other district in Pakistan. In rural area, public and private education institutions are providing basic education facilities to the majority of people. Middle and lower middle class population of this area is getting basic education through these available resources. District Chakwal, has been a champion of promoting primary school enrollment campaigns both for girls and boys which proves that the people of this area acknowledge the importance of education. Ironically, provincial and federal governments in the past have neglected this area. Moreover, the district does not have any reasonable industry and doesn’t even have a suitable canal or irrigation system that could change the financial conditions of the area. Due to the lack of these two important resources in the area, the majority of the people depend upon public and private sector services.
After getting a basic education the majority move abroad in search of better job opportunities where they face a different set of problems. Chakwal city and other tehsil headquarters does not have any public and private higher education institutions. Majority of youth could not get a higher education as they were not able to afford expensive higher education in other big cities. Due to these reasons people of this area are suffering.
In past, due to the local weak political leadership and instability, we have lost our approved cadet college and ARID university. So the majority of our talented youth could not get a higher education and thus missed out on better opportunities in defense service. As discussed above, due to geographical and political reasons the majority of this area is not financially sound and still lives below the poverty line. Parents who can afford to send their children to expensive universities are sending them to big cities, however, the majority is unable to do so. So keeping the above mentioned points in view, on the behalf of the citizens of district Chakwal, this is our request to higher authorities especially to the newly elected and appointed Honorable Provincial Minister for Higher Education and Tourism, Mr. Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, to arrange for higher education institutions in all the main cities of District Chakwal. After three decades, the people of Chakwal supported ruling party for the sake of change. Now, it is a good opportunity for the government to reward this support by addressing the prevalent issues faced by them.
Chakwal city and other tehsil headquarters does not have any public and private higher education institutions. Majority of youth could not get a higher education as they were not able to afford expensive higher education in other big cities
Moreover, this area is blessed with natural beauty and has a lot of potential for local tourism which needs to be explored. There are a lot of unexplored places that can be promoted and developed as tourist destinations. If the government provides basic facilities to these places that can be a turning point and can create new jobs and business opportunities for the locals. If the Provincial Government promotes the easily accessible salt range which is adjacent to the Motorway, beautiful streams and artificial water storages (Small Dams) and provide basic facilities to the tourist; it might end up attracting domestic and foreign tourists to this area. This can generate lot of business and can create new jobs for the middle and lower class. Providing job opportunities was stated in the manifesto of the newly elected government. Apart from the beautiful location of the salt range, there are a lot of small and medium dams that can be turned into tourist points.
We request that since the majority of this district voted for change after thirty years; this should in turn have a positive impact on the lives of the locals, as they so richly deserve.

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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.