Upper Kohistan District

Trend Analysis




Area SqKms






Population Density / SqKm




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


Kohistan (Upper and Lower Districts) happens to have the highest hydroelectricity potential in the country, which makes this region an ideal place for “Hydro-electricity hub”. Additionally, the region has minor growth potential in the sectors of dairy and livestock providing a case scenario where it can become one of the principle “Dairy and Livestock Suppliers in CPEC” and forestry opportunity to earn some “Carbon Credits”.


1. Hydro-Electricity Hub

Indus River flowing through Kohistan provides multiple locations for small, medium and large projects. A brief summary is given below:

  1. As per information shared by PEDO, hydroelectric potential (feasibility studies completed, semi raw sites, raw sites, solicited site) stands at around 2,467 MW, which includes – Spat Gah lower 496 MW, Lower Palas 665 MW, Middle Spat Gah 489 MW, Middle Palas 398 MW, Upper Spat Gah 252 MW, Upper Palas 157 MW, raw site at Kaigah 10 MW , Samar Gah 28 MW (solicited site – http://pedo.pk/Main/ppre/5).
  2. If the population growth rate along with expected increased business activity are considered, the electricity demand could be enhanced.


  1. Unmatched hydroelectric generation potential.
  2. Surplus electricity production potential.


Kohistan can become one of the nation’s ‘Electricity Hub’, given the major potential it carries, and therefore presents following opportunities:

  1. On priority bases, ensure that the current and medium-run (5 years) energy demand of local consumers.
  2. In addition, some backup projects for current demand of electricity be initiated as well.
  3. For winters, when electricity supply would be low, make arrangements for alternative supply sources.
  4. Implements plans for construction of Hydro Power Stations for excess electricity in future;
    1. Tenders be opened for their construction immediately.b. Road and other communication infrastructure be improved for ease in supply of raw material.
  5. Undertake survey and planning for a HV Transmission Line between Kohistan and other population hubs of KP. In this regard, low-altitude route along the length of the valley, and low-mountain cross over in Kohistan needs to be investigated as well. PEDO can make HV transmission line as part of NTDC Plans, if possible.
  6. Consider a local power generation and distribution company for Kohistan which would be responsible for generating and distributing electricity to NTDC / Operator. It will give local ownership and take focus away from PESCO.
  7. There is potential for further hydropower generation after the identification of potential sites by the experts, creating opportunities for Public Private Partnerships.

2. Dairy and Livestock

Kohistan has an untapped development potential in Dairy and Livestock business, having a fairly large collection of farm animals at its disposal. There are about 1,698,480 farm animals, which include 250,910 Cattle, 51,163 Buffalos, 196,510 Sheep, 671,353 Goats and 528,544 poultry (Department of Livestock census 2006). Given the close proximity with Afghanistan Central Asian States and possibly China, where there is shortage of Livestock and high demand of dairy items, Kohistan is ideally placed to become a small regional hub of livestock that can fulfil the demands of aforementioned states.

Herd of goats on mountan meadow
A flock of white domestic sheep (Ovis aries), standing in a field and staring at the camera.,Getty August 2017


  1. 1,698,480 farm animals.
  2. Location of Kohistan increases the demand of dairy products.


To exploit this trade potential of livestock from Kohistan, the Government of KP can take following initiatives:

  1. Setup modern facilities to facilitate the growth of this sector;
    • A state of the art modern research institute on Veterinary Sciences, in collaboration with Agriculture University Peshawar. Cooperation in this regard can also be sought from New Zeeland and Australia.
    • A butchery with meat processing facilities.
    • Cold storage facilities for storing milk and meat.
    • Trainings for farmers and cattle herders, seminars and workshops for them on regular basis.
  2. Invite local and foreign investors to install state of the art farm amenities;
    • These companies would also be asked to train the local community on cattle raising.
  3. Improve road connectivity from District to border region and with other main highways of the country.

3. Forestry

Kohistan is well resourced with forest cover, which amounts to approximately 216,699 hectares of area (second highest forest cover besides Mansehra District), as per Crop Statistics report of 2015- 16, Dept. of Agriculture GoKP. As now, the local population use it mostly for fire wood. There is opportunity to earn some “carbon credits’ with the available forest, as developed countries have well exceeded their quota of carbon emission and hence can buy it from Pakistan.



  1. Forest covers 216,699 hectares of area – opportunity to earn carbon credits


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

  1. Campaign of ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ should be implanted in letter and spirit in the area.
  2. To completely curb the timber mafia, the forest guards should be equipped be with modern facilities and their number should be increased as well.
  3. Government would also do well to ensure that all households have gas connections or other alternative fuel sources.
  4. A state of the art vocational institute in the district for training of local people in quality carpentry.
  5. The area under forest should be offered to international companies for carbon trading, through competitive bidding process.
    • The selected companies would be leased a selected portion of land under forest or land designated for plantation of forest.
    • Companies would primarily responsible for protection of the forests. They could involve local community in this regard.
    • The revenue earned through carbon crediting would be shared appropriately between the companies, the Forest Department of KP and the locals.
  6. For the preservation of current forest reserves in the area, the government should also collaborate with REDD+ Project in Pakistan (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), an initiative International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and WWF-Pakistan or other project of similar nature;
    • REDD+ Project officials would develop capacity development of all stakeholders in the area.
    • They would also provide consultancy to the stakeholders and independently monitor the progress of whole process.

4. Conclusion

Kohistan district is full of opportunities for the investors and if these opportunities are availed properly while addressing the above-mentioned threats, the district’s economy can multiply. Minerals, Gemstone reserves of Chromite, Granite, Serpentine are found in Kohistan district (source: Bureau of Statistics report on District wise minerals of KP 2012-13).