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Akhtar Hameed Khan: A Visionary Social Activist.

Admin    15 July 2019    0 comments

Akhtar Hameed Khan

Akhtar Hameed Khan who was born on 15 July 1914 in Agra, India was a famous Pakistani development practitioner and social scientist. He promoted the concept of how rural areas should be provided with needs and goods so that they run their own lives. He supported countries that were going through the development procedure. To decrease the difference between urban and rural areas and provide rural areas with facilities he started a comprehensive project for rural development, the Comilla Model (1959).

The Comilla Model was Khan's reply to the failure of the Village Agricultural and Industrial Development. Akhtar Hameed Khan argued on the development of farmers and their advancement. The production and sales which they produce from the farms must be increased at an enormous pace. The government should provide them with the supplies and construction of roads. Once the infrastructure is polished the production will be automatically increased and would be available at the right time for sale.
In the 1980s a project was started, Orangi Pilot Project based in the outskirts of Karachi, which became a model of participatory development initiatives. The Orangi Pilot Project is the project in which three Non-Governmental Organizations merged for a socially innovative cause which was carried out in the 1980s in the squatter areas of Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan. It was initiated by Akhtar Hameed Khan and involved the residents in solving their sanitation problems. Innovative methods were taught and then used to provide adequate low-cost sanitation, health, housing, and microfinance facilities.
He also commenced many projects and programs such as micro-finance and micro-credit and from house provision to family planning and for rural communities to urban slums.
Many institutes were made and programs were held to provide the literacy and knowledge for the slums and how to do work and free themselves of the slum's life. Also, knowledge about the rural areas and providing them with such intense and in-depth awareness was spread among the people.

  • He was presented with Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1961 for pioneering work in rural development.
  • The Comilla Model on 31st August 1963 earned him the Ramon Magsaysay Award from Manila, Philippines and an honorary Doctorate of Law from Michigan State University.
  • Nishaan-e-Imtiaz from Posthumous in 2001 was presented to Akhtar Hameed Khan for his great services to the community.
  • Jinnah Award from Posthumous in 2004 was awarded to him for his explicit service to the people as a founder of the Orangi Pilot Project.

In 1999, when he was visiting his family in the United States he suffered a kidney failure. He died of a Myocardial Infarction (MI-also known as a heart attack) on 9 October in Indianapolis at the age of 85. His body was flown to Karachi on 15 October, where he was buried on the grounds of the OPP office compound.