Dera Ismail Khan District

Trend Analysis




Area SqKms






Population Density / SqKm



Urban Population



Rural Population



Total Housing Units



Housing Units having Electricity



Housing Units Having Piped Water



Housing Unit using Gas for cooking



Source: Pakistan Bureau of Statistics


The economic and business development potential of Dera Ismail Khan is enormous, a district situated in the west bank of the Indus River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has abundant land where different crops and fruits are produced employing thousands of households. Research and development and introduction of modern farming techniques can enhance production yield. Cluster based strategy for local minerals of the area needs to be developed in order to introduce new modern techniques and get full potential. The district presents investment opportunity for oil & gas sector in “D.I.Khan East Block”.

There is huge potential for value addition and expansion in Dhakki dates cluster. Embroidery sector potential can be explored by developing linkages of the local artisans with fashion designers of Pakistan and enhancing their capacity.


 1. Agro-Based Industry

D.I.Khan potentially holds relative advantage in developing the agro-based industry due to its considerable agricultural resource endowments. Agro-based industry in considered as the arm extension of the agriculture products and D.I Khan Produces variety of agricultural products including famous Dhakki dates, Chooara (dried dates), sugar cane, wheat and a famous quality of Langra mangos.

To actualize the full potential of agro based industry following recommendations are suggested as under;
  • First, establishing new medium scale production units characterized by medium investment, manual labor and semi-automation; products may include dates processing, production of a dessert delicacy called sohan halwa and product of mango pickle.
  • Second, upgrading, stabilization and capacity enhancement of already existing medium scale production units.
  • Finally, developing new large scale industry involving large investment and a high level of automation; products include sugar mills.
Smoke bellowing from Shreepur-based Reliance Sugar and Chemical Private Limited in Bara, on Sunday,  December 31, 2017. Photo: THT

It is essentially important here to note that commercialization and modernization techniques are indispensable for the development of an economically viable agro-industry because agricultural production alone is insufficient condition, for development of agro-based industry there is a dire need to place a proper emphasis on processed products for intermediate and final consumption.

Therefore, commercialization of agriculture by encouraging value addition chain, by stabilizing existing value food chains and by offering new lucrative agro-based business opportunities is desired which would further stimulate the process of improvement in local economy. As developing of agro-based industry compromises mainly of the post-harvest activities of processing and preservation of products so proper training, education and awareness is required for the locals.


  1. Home to cereal and cash crops.
  2. Besides cereal and cash crops, dates and mangoes are also the souvenirs of DI Khan.


The Government of KP can act upon following recommendations to increase the efficiency of this sector:

  1. Given low education level of local farming community and their subsistence farming approach, it is advised that:
    • Agriculture department of KP, in collaboration with Agriculture University of KP, should apprise local farming community of productivity levels of different crops in their area.
    • A seed research facility should be established in the district.
    • Farmers should be encouraged by the Government to plant crops in which their given area holds comparative advantage. In this regard, a certain amount of financial cushion should be provided to farmer to help them in the transition phase –– in cases where farmers are not used to or not familiar with a high yielding agricultural product.
    • Regular workshops and seminars should be conducted to educate farmers on modern farming techniques. In this regard, assistance from international donor agencies could also be sought.
    • Ministry of Commerce should help provide the local farmers to have access of their products to the neighboring countries, i.e. Afghanistan, China and Central Asian States. As area is close to the newly developed CPEC road infrastructure, it would be a very feasible initiative.
  2. To make credit easily accessible to local farmers following actions can be taken;
    • Encourage commercial banks to offer credits to the farmers. Khyber Bank and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) branches can play a vital role.
    • Educate the farmers how easy credit schemes could help them in getting accessories and expanding their output.
  3. Invite local and foreign firms to setup silos in the area for cereal based products and silos for grain storage.
  4. With consultation and consent of the stakeholders, China could be offered to buy some of the land for farming, given the expected shortage it would face in future for cereal products. It has already purchased some land in Africa and Russia for this purpose.


 2. Small Scale Handicrafts Sector

Rich heritage of handicrafts of D.I.Khan has strong imprints of diverse cultures and the most absorbing specialties of D.I.Khan, the captivating and alluring handicrafts, is known country-wide.

This tradition of creating handicrafts style is abstract in its particular manner and local artisans in D.I.Khan (employing large number of females) have done impressive work in this field. The eyeopening views for art-lover are lacquered woodwork, wooden handicrafts and glass and ivory ware by the skilled artisans of D.I.Khan. Some other fascinating and captivating handicrafts of the area include mats, rugs, and traditional waist coat.


In order to actualize the maximum potentials of the local artisans following recommendations are suggested as under;

  • First, an institution involved in promotion of alluring handicrafts of D.I.Khan at national level would be effective measure. This institute should encourage and facilitate local artisan to participate in exhibition to show their skills.
  • Second, establish an institution for the capacity development, design and product development, creation of basic infrastructure facilities required by the local artisans. Organizations like Aik Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN) could play an important role.
  • Third, lack of the accessible financial provision to local artisans is another area that needs improvement. In this regards state owned financial institutions could provide a considerable finical service.


  1. Wood made handicrafts, Handicrafts made by ivory, artisans and rugs.
  2. Famous cross stitch embroidery employing hundreds of local females.


In order to boost the handicraft sector of D.I.Khan District, it is recommended that following course of action be taken by the Provincial Government:

  1. A Quality Enhancement Center (QEC) be setup in the area which enlighten the local owners about the standard quality require for export of handicraft items;
    • SMEDA and AHAN can be involved in this scheme.
    • Collaboration can also be sought with EU and USAID.
  2. Open at least one high quality Skill Enhancement Institute and Women Business Development Centers at every sub-division of D.I.Khan for facilitation of workers and cottage owners.
  3. Encourage banks for easy access to credit schemes to local artisans/firm owners. Also arrange seminars on lending system of banks and how they are useful in expanding businesses across the world.
  4. Promote the handicraft products of D.I.Khan in Pakistan and abroad through:
    • Brochures and booklets.
    • A specially designed website on handicrafts of KP. The booklets and website should carry product pictures and contact information of all cottage owners in the area.
    • Expos and short documentaries. Promote “Made in KP” brand.
    • Linkages with well-known fashion designers and fashion design institutes of Pakistan for capacity building and introduction of new designs.


 3. Minerals – Oil & Gas Sector

Natural resource (minerals) driven development strategy is considered an appropriate and effective growth development strategy for many favorably endowed regions like D.I.Khan. The district is host to the array of discovered minerals which are abundantly used in various industries especially in the construction industry. These minerals include Limes Stone (3 billion tons reserve), Latrite, Silica, Sand Stone, Shale clay and Silica Sand. It is also estimated the existence of considerable reserves of the natural gas and crude oil. Likewise, there also exist coal mine in the area of Kathgarh at the edge of CRBC canal.

DIK East Exploration Block has an area of 446 Sq. km, located in D.I Khan, District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Based on surrounding discoveries in Kohat-Bannu basin i.e. Chanda, Mela, Nashpa, Makori, Maramzai and Mamikhel, DIK East Block is considered a successful Project. The Block is located about 300 Kilometers from Peshawar towards South West and 500 km South West from Islamabad. It has access via Indus Highway, where up-to-date facilities are available due to oil & gas exploration and production activities/discoveries in nearby areas.

Opportunities available for both national and international E&P Companies, who are interested for Joint Venture in the Block. Farming out its 49% working interest to other E&P Companies to assist KPOGCL regarding Geological, Geophysical and Engineering studies and an initial 1st Exploratory wells drilling program. Work has already started in 2017 leading to the drilling activities in 2018-19. Full program cost (Capex) is estimated at US$ 41 million.

Another block called D.I.Khan West Block has also been identified in Dera Ismail Khan. DIK West Exploration Block has an area of 300 Sq. km, located in D.I Khan (88.55%), District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province & FR DI Khan (11.45%), (Figure 1). Based on surrounding discoveries in KohatBannu basin i.e. Chanda, Mela, Nashpa, Makori, Maramzai and Mamikhel, DIK West Block is considered to be a successful project. Full program cost is estimated at US$ 40 million. Opportunities available for both national and international E&P Companies, who are interested for Joint Venture in the Block. Farming out its 49% working interest to other E&P Companies to assist KPOGCL regarding Geological, Geophysical and Engineering studies and an initial 1st Exploratory wells drilling program.


Furthermore, similar investment opportunities are also available for E&P companies in Khushal Block which is spread over Tank, Lakki Marwat and D.I.Khan districts. The estimated cost of project is US$ 49 Million.

In order to ripe the maximum benefits from the existence of these materials following recommendations are suggested;

  1. In cement industry, establishing new manufacturing units and expansion of old units are proposed. Due to availability of the raw material.
  2. The oil and gas sector has been identified by the Government as an engine of economic growth and its unprecedented growth is expected to further promote investment activities in the entire country. As D.I.Khan is favorably endowed with the oil and gas resources so proper investment in exploration would productively contribute in the improvement of economy.


  1. Reserves of minerals.
  2. Investment opportunities in identified D.I.Khan East & West Block.


In order to overcome the above mentioned challenges faced by the industry, and make it more competitive for global market, following policy recommendations can be adopted:

  1. Establish a ’Mineral City’ , preferable in D.I.Khan and ensure provision of:
    • Plots on reasonable rates and basic utilities, i.e. electricity, gas, insurance, security etc. for potential investors in construction sectors.
    • A small scale power generation unit, (solar based or diesel based), for supplying uninterrupted electricity to the industrial units.
    • A research institute on mineral extraction and processing.
    • Technical Training Center.
    • Business Park and Office Space.
    • Freight Handling & Customs Centre.
  2. The office of KP Mineral Development Department should offer regular assistance to industry in general on modern mining techniques, equipment handling and environmental safety.
  3. Immediate surveys should be conducted to estimate the exact amount of minerals found in the district;
    • Assistance for geological survey could be sought from Germany, Italy Austria etc. (countries with experience of mining minerals).
    • Financial assistance could be taken from financial institutions and international donors.
  4. KP Mineral Development Department needs to prepare an Investor’s Brief that clearly quantify / identify the potential of mining minerals in the area, and state the current level of investigation for the total amount of minerals available.
  5. To increase accessibility of local mine and industry owners to finance, KP Government can use following options:
    • Establish a ‘Mineral Development Bank’ for financial and technical support of mining industry.
    • Encourage all state owned and private banks to offer Islamic banking to the local businesses.


 4. D.I.KHAN Economic Zone

Address: Zone Office, Parwa Road near Gomal University District D.I. Khan KP
Contact Person: Farhan Awan (Acting Manager Estate Office-D.I. Khan)
Phone Number: +923339297068

 5. Conclusion

D.I.Khan district presents opportunities for the investors in mining and processing of Limestone, its related industries and oil and gas exploration and production, however, support from concerned departments will be required to facilitate investors resulting in growth of district economy and creation of employment opportunities for the locals.