“As long as we are able to provide employment to skilled youth, we can keep them from becoming a tool in the hands of terrorists,” said Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology. He was addressing the local stakeholders gathered for a one day seminar and exhibition on “Role of PCSIR for Technology Development and its impact on National Economy.”

“Pakistan is blessed with innumerable natural resources and with a considerable value addition to our raw material; we can definitely increase our exports. This in turn will help raise our life standards and provide employment opportunities to the skillful youth,” he said. Swat is blessed with world-class fruits, invaluable medicinal herbs, gem stones and marble. Only a little support from the Government will put things in a stream lined process, hence helping the Swat people in regaining their original stature of flourishing tourism and other industries.

While addressing the audience, Brigadier Zafar Iqbal informed the audience that Swat alone produced 35000 tons of peaches, 80,000 ton apples and 40,000 ton persimmon (Japanese Fruit) but was not able to approach the international market because of lack of training and knowledge of export quality and preservation. He emphasized that a skillful youth who is able to earn for his family will never fall prey to the terrorists. An employed and progressive Swat is directly in favor of a stable Pakistan in terms of finance as well as improving life standards.

The Chairman PCSIR Dr. Shahzad Alam thanked the audience for their precious time and announced the free training opportunities to be provided by his organization to the local industrialists. He also offered to provide formulation technology for value addition to the local fruits and herbs for generating considerable amount of foreign exchequer. He also told that polishing and cutting of marble, granite, precious stone, processed food, medicinal herbal products etc are the areas that PCSIR will focus for training. He insisted that the stakeholders should join the 6 month free training course that PCSIR is starting from December 2016. He also appreciated the role of Pakistan Army in restoring peace in this region and the sacrifices that the locals have made to curb the hold of the terrorists who hijacked the innocent people in the name of religion.

While addressing the audience, the President of Swat Chamber of Commerce Mr. Hamid ur Rehman requested that the local roads need repair and maintenance. Their deplorable condition has resulted in downfall of tourism industry. He requested the Federal Minister for Science & Technology to help them restore the local tourism industry by repairing the road up till Kalam.

President Swat Hotel Association, Haji Zahid also appealed for the restoration of tourism by repairing the roads of this area. He was of the view that due to bad traveling conditions, the rate of tourists coming to this area has dropped considerably. This has caused a huge set back to the local hotel industry and overall market. Swat people used to earn huge revenue through these positive activities. He also announced to give land to PCSIR for building a facilitation center in Swat.