At the time of Independence, Pakistan inherited a well-developed riverine and canal system that extended from Sindh to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The river and canal system cover approximately 30,000 km in both horizontal and vertical reaches in the riparian, and physically integrates the country.
Unfortunately the utilization of riverine and canal system in Pakistan for transporting goods and passengers was never seriously addressed. The transport system followed worldwide today is road, rail, river and canal systems. The lack of interest to develop a water way system was a colossal failure of our planning, which needs to be redressed urgently and immediately.
Seeing no progress at the national level to develop a navigation channel, a group of private sector professional entrepreneurs led by Mr. Naeem Sarfraz took the initiative to work on developing the potential of Pakistan’s waterways to transport goods and passengers. These efforts were spread over many years. The group, with the help of the Pakistan Navy undertook a physical survey of Indus River between Daudkhel and Attock for the pilot project. All associated expenses were borne by the group at no cost to the Government.
The efforts of the private sector succeeded when Punjab Government not only approved incorporation of the Inland Water Transport Development Company but also allocated funds to initiate the project.