The remote district Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is known for its typical peace and education. Despite harsh geographical conditions and economic hardships the inhabitants of Chitral have proved that this land is quite rich in talent. From getting admission at top ranked institutions to qualifying competitive exams and from fine art to politics, the district has excelled in all fields. However, entrepreneurship has remained an exception which is yet to be explored by the people of Chitral.
Only a handful people in Chitral so far have tried their luck in the field of entrepreneurship. One such person is a young man, Syed Wazir Ali Shah from Karimabad, Kherchoom valley of Chitral. Instead of hunting jobs like thousands of other fresh graduates, this young business graduate of COMSATS University, Islamabad has set up his own business. Mr. Wazir is the authorized dealer of Atlas Honda—one of the top 5 companies in the world, and also the owner of APEX System of Business. His show room APEX HONDA CENTER, Chitral is the only agency in Chitral where genuine bike spare parts and quality bike check-up service is provided to the satisfaction of customers.
Shah G is a young man who has definitely defied all the odds by going against an established trend. In Chitral parents educate their children so that they could have some socially prestigious job in the service sector. The most cherished jobs include CSS and PMS Officers, doctors, engineers, professors etc. Establishing one’s own business is not considered as the priority for the educated ones
“Chitral is a very backward area and the people think that the way to improve one’s living is to hunt jobs in the service sector. This is fairly paradoxical. Economy is the core and entrepreneurship is the best way to become rich. Our people think it is a DUKANDARI which needs no formal education.
“This mind set is very common in Chitral. I had to struggle to tackle with this barrier. People used to tell my father that after studying from a well reputed university of Pakistan, your son will be running a shop? I had to invite all the bike workshop holders to a hotel and give a comprehensive presentation about my new business. Today I am employing many people.
“Most of the business sector in our country is run by semi-literate people. I am the only business graduate dealer of ATLAS HONDA. It is important for the educated youth to come forward for business. This would not only provide them with jobs but customers too would have access to quality service. For instance, APEX HONDA CENTER, Chitral, which I own, is providing the customers with genuine bike spare parts and quality bike check-up services,” says Mr. Wazir.
Despite having substantial business opportunity the inhabitants of Chitral are unable to cash it. The business in Chitral is either controlled by non-locals or not availed at all. The business in the town is in the hands of outsiders while in the villages turning things into business is an unfamiliar idea.
“Various items in our villages like fruits, dry fruits, handicrafts and others could earn us considerable income.Most importantly, educated youth should take business initiatives. But we usually make excuses that setting business requires capital, which is partially true. However, it is a faulty excuse because business creates profit not profit creates business. Of course, one needs to take some risk which we call as entrepreneurship.
“After CPEC, Chitral will open for the external world. I fear if the locals do not take business initiates, we will have the same fate as the locals of Murrree where foreigners have controlled almost every business,’ Mr. Wazir expresses his views on business opportunities in Chitral.
The 24 years old celebrity looking Shah G looks much mature than his age when he talks about business; capital, profits and regarding future business plans. Besides APEX HONDA CENTER, Chitral he deals with General Order Supplies as well with few other projects in the pipe line including extending the HONDA agencies to other cities. Moreover, he has successfully run boys’ hostel in Rawalpindi employing Chitralis in it. Mr. Wazir is controlling his business through PUNAR (POS integrated inventory Management System), a software, while living in the federal capital territory, Islamabad. At such a young age he is quite well off- owing a luxurious home in Islamabad with two latest model vehicles, all self-achieved. He has indeed proved himself by going against an established trend. Wazir is no doubt a model and an inspiration for the youth as much as CSS & PMS Officers, doctors, engineers and professors are. Despite having socialist views not appreciating the entrepreneurship of a friend would be unjust.
“I regard your socialist views and concern our labor rights but the contemporary world belongs to businessmen,” Shah G often compliments when we start a debate on pros and cons of capitalistic system. With socialism surrendered decades ago and welfare states diminishing, capitalism has triumphed as the unchallengeable system. Perhaps, the world’s only hope is welfare capitalism which Edhi used to call “as good as socialism is”. While wishing him Malik Riaz like success I expect Mr. Wazir becomes a welfare capitalist.
It is the call of the hour that educated youth in Chitral realize the importance of initiating business and exploit the business opportunities in Chitral not just to improve their own conditions but to contribute in the overall development of the district as well.