The Promise of Leadership in Pakistan

I am cross posting an incredible blog written by 2010 Acumen Fund Fellow, Zahoor Khan.  Much of my recent thinking is about how we can really hear the voices of experience.  Zahoor is a voice of experience.  He was born and raised in the North West Frontier Providence of Pakistan, one of the most complex and conservative areas in the region.  He is working toward creating a new type of leadership in his country.  His blog can be found here.
Possibilities Amidst Dismay by Zahoor Khan

For the last few years, Khyber Puktunkwa province (former NWFP) has been the front line in war against terrorism. This part of the world has seen the worst turmoil in its history. On December 8, 2010, KP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain disclosed that 647 citizens and 298 Police personnel, and 157 terrorists were killed through 2010. He noted, further, that about 3,600 people had been killed and 1,200 had been injured, since 2007 (South Asia Terrorism Portal, (
I have been asking this question that why should I be living and working here? Does it really make sense to be here?. What keeps me optimistic is the resilience that has built in people over time by the turmoil itself. I am meeting people, senior and young professionals, academicians, students and non-for-profit leaders, who stood to the recent hard times here. Though most of them are disappointed, I still find people who are super positive and passionate. Interesting part of the observation is that the youngsters and youth are doing breakthroughs. I left the city in September 09, when there was no youth or youth focused organization or movement in the city, but now I see number of successful youth lead initiative in the city.
Last week I met Nauman Ammar, a business graduate who along with a group of friend is running Organization for Youth and Development (OYD) in Peshawar. (OYD) is a platform for the volunteers to serve their communities. The Organization works with objective to serve community through capacity building and attitude & behavior change of communities. They run ‘Save and Rebuild KPK, ‘Empower Youth’, ‘Train the Trainer’ and ‘Relief and Recovery’ programs. All the founding and facilitating members are volunteers. They do not run for donations and fund raising as it might divert their focus. They reach out to educational institutions to deliver free youth empowerment trainings, collect used books throughout the country and distribute them to needy students and provide all possible relief services to war and flood affected communities on pure self help basis. Their network of volunteers is spreading day by day.
I just met Nadeh Ali,   a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and a trainer with the aim to highlight the importance of human potential. He believes that everyone is capable of determining their own destiny. Nadeh is a certified trainer from School Of Leadership has participated in 4th Indo-Pak Student Peace Camp held in Chandigarh (India). Nadeh along with his other friends has recently launch Peshawar Youth Organization (PYO), that promotes awareness among students and young professionals in relation to ethical implications of the society and help them in defining their role in the society. Nadeh has generated a tremendous spirit amongst youth and has been conducting training programs, awareness campaigns and fun fairs in Peshawar.

With big dreams in eyes, these youth carry tremendous energy and passion for change and this is what has revitalized my belief and my hope for the good that follows. I am so happy to find the aspiration. We all are jointly moving towards creating ‘Leaders for Pakistan’ a leadership program that will facilitate taking such like ideas, services and talent to a level next.


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