The President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Mr. Saeed Ahmad visited the Chitral valley and its adjoining areas where he inaugurated the first Islamic Banking Branch of the area. The graceful ceremony was attended by various local dignitaries, notably Mr. Irshad Ahmed Sodhar, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mr. Shahzada Iftikhar Uddin, Member National Assembly (MNA), Mr. Saleem Khan and Mr. Saeed Sardar Hussain Shah, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA), Col. Mueen Uddin and Commandant Chitral scouts among others.
NBP’s senior executives present at the occasion included, Mr. Muhammad Aasim Akhtar, Group Head – CRBG, Syed Waseem Akhtar, Regional Head – Peshawar and Ms. Saima Rahim, Regional Head Aitemaad Islamic Banking Group (AIBG). The dignitaries acknowledged NBP’s valuable efforts to promote local businesses. This was the first such visit by the President of the bank since its inception almost 70 years ago. The local business community expressed their gratitude to the President for taking personal interest in the area. Mr. Shahzada Iftikhar Uddin, MNA said that Chitral is a far flung area and remains neglected in many ways for want of development and basic infrastructure requirements. The President’s visit was aimed to understand first-hand the problems faced by the customers as well as the NBP staff and to take corrective measures to alleviate these problems.
Islamic Banking is taking the centre stage at NBP and its growth continues to be the focus of the Board and the Senior Management. The President attaches great importance and special personal attention to this area of business. Mr. Saeed Ahmad said, “The people of Chitral have expressed their preference for the Islamic mode of financing and it was this desire of the local population that motivated NBP to open its first branch in Chitral”. The branch was inaugurated by the Mr. Irshad Ahmed Sodhar, DC, Chitral and the President NBP. The august gathering at this event included the local elected representatives of National and Provincial Assemblies, senior government officials and customers. At this occasion, the speakers appreciated the services which NBP is providing for the last many years to the people of Chitral and its adjoining and far flung areas. They were especially appreciative of the services provided by the bank and its staff under difficult and inhospitable conditions. The President in his speech once again reiterated his commitment towards providing better banking services to the people by introducing new products and further enhancing the Islamic Banking network in the area.
During his trip to the Chitral valley, the President NBP visited the under construction Hydel power station which after completion of the first phase will provide electricity to the entire area, while upon completion of the project, electricity will be added to the national grid. This project has a special significance due to the upcoming CPEC project, as Chitral is located on the main crossroad of the CPEC. NBP is actively looking at expanding its reach and supporting various business opportunities in the area. The President also visited the site of the proposed Marble City in the outskirts of Chitral, where he assured the local investors of the bank’s full support in providing financing facilities to augment their business initiatives. “This project is the harbinger of change for the area and its people, and NBP attaches great importance to this project.” said Mr. Saeed Ahmad.
In the evening Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO, NBP attended a dinner which was graced with the presence by NBP customers as well as various notables of the area. At this occasion the speakers highlighted the role played by NBP in promoting the local economy and providing banking services at the doorstep in areas where no other bank provides such services. They welcomed the first ever visit by any President of NBP and declared it as a good omen for the people of Chitral.
The President also met the respective Deputy Commissioners of Chitral, Upper Dir and Lower Dir, and discussed the role which NBP could play in the development of the local areas.