The Gojal region in northern Pakistan has a comparatively high level of development, virtually unparalleled in Pakistan’s other mountain areas and rural periphery and representing a significant advance over the extreme poverty, recurrent famine, pervasive illiteracy, and feudal oppression that existed until the 1940s.
This article analyzes the factors and conditions that made this possible.
Various external modernization interventions by state and nonstate agencies, particularly by the Aga Khan Development Network, have been crucial in this respect. The significance of the framing of such interventions for their acceptance and successful implementation is analyzed for the Ismaili community of Gojal.
Findings from this case study underline the central importance of local actors’ agency and their proactive and creative response to the changing conditions and new opportunities created during modernizing interventions. Local households’ mobility and migration strategies, in the context of sectoral and spatial livelihood diversification, have played a pivotal role in translating external modernization interventions into mountain development. Informed by recent debates on translocality, this article argues for a reassessment of the role of migration and translocality in development, a role that has often been underestimated or reduced to the effects of remittances.
From this perspective, the transferability of Gojal’s successful development to other mountain areas is discussed.
Andreas Benz: Department of Geography, Augsburg University, D-86135 Augsburg, Germany