The Chitral valley in KPK is the northern-most rural district of Pakistan. It is the largest district as per its geographical stretch, habitated by only 2% of the population of KPK, approximately 450,000, spread in 463 settlements over 32 valleys. Diversification is the uniqueness of the district with over a dozen different cultures, and over 14 spoken languages and dialects. The diversification is supported by peaceful coexistence of culture and religion as approximately 70% of the population is Sunnis, Ismailis are 30% with Kalash being a small non-Muslim minority. Chitral is rich in natural resources but its weak management and conservation has put it under sustained pressure and prone to natural disasters. The level of access to basic social services like health and education as per stated indicators remains low.
Chitral will have national connectivity and is poised to become regional connector i.e. Central Asian States, Afghanistan and China through Northern Areas upon operationalization of Lowari Tunnel, expected by the end of 2010. Lowari will expose Chitral to both positive and negative realities in terms of preservation and strengthening of its peculiar natural resources, culture, economics and infrastructure. This will require enhanced level of responsibility and responsiveness from both the Chitral District Government and people of Chitral that would require them to balance out the challenge of unbridled internal and external elite capture. This advance realization expects the partners in development in Chitral to pool in their resources, both technical and financial, to capacitate the CDG and people of Chitral for its overarching impact on poverty alleviation and right based development.