.. by Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
A high level meeting was held with CM in the chair at Peshawar to discuss the envisaged ‘ Peshawar Model Town’ costing billions of Rupees. The people at Peshawar are well off. Most of them own many houses, many have one but own it and live quite comfortably. Those who live in slums cannot afford to buy a costly house in that Model town which means the ruling party and her ministers are dreaming of building a Model town for the upper class, not for those who deserve it. A Model Town is always a Model where all kind of facilities as well as luxuries are provided on government funds or on public –private partnership. The high rise buildings in the city, around the city and at some distance from the old city are all the outcome of boundless riches- that was not earned but was looted from this one or that one but mostly from the government exchequer or from narcotic trafficking. The rich have been left to play freely; and run their legal as well as illegal businesses but the poor have not been given any chunk of the exchequer except the 10% discount in ration.
Peshawar city does not need govt. funds for beautification or addition of more and more Model towns. It is the far lying areas of KPK where facilities and infrastructure is the poorest and lowest. The Road from Peshawar to Chak dara exists and a Motorway was added which is planned to be further into Swat. Well! The people of Swat gave votes in better ratio to PTI than they did in Dir or Chitral but Neither Dir districts nor Chitral districts received any attention from the Chief Minister. Are the people of Dir and Chitral not the citizens of Pakistan? Have they no right to better roads, communication, health, education, Social Welfare, agriculture etc? Are the inhabitants of Dir and Chitral not part of Malakand Division? Or KPK?
The Chief Minister has to understand, if he has so far not been able to do so, that the people living in the mountainous region of KPK have greater needs because of their geographical location, of the constraints of various types, harsh weather, long distance from administrative centres, high transport fares, high cost of living, lack of fuel like fire wood, coal, gas etc. The inhabitants of the region mentioned above deserve to be given priority to alleviate their poverty.
The roads both in Dir and Chitral are in shambles. The ones in the later are not to be counted as roads –they are trails –some still on the same position built by the British after their arrival in Chitral in 1895. I would repeat here once again that the total length of black top roads in the two districts of Chitral is 135km. Shame! For an area of 14850 sq km. In order to attract the voters the Chief Minister as the head of provincial administration must pay full and foremost attention to the people of the less privileged-the backward people- the deprived ones in the province instead of giving state of the art facilities to those who have already access to those luxuries. The voters have to be given attention, sympathy, trust.
Your ministers have to pay regular visits to those areas where you have got less votes and should mix with the voters to get their views and extend helping hand and support them by listening to their woes, and then providing funds for various schemes in their areas to satisfy them; and improvement and widening of their road system. Because in the mountainous areas roads get damaged rather quickly due to flush floods, GLOFS, avalanches, rock falls and constant vigilance is required. Take the people of Dir and Chitral in your confidence if you seek votes in the coming elections. We have seen no mediocre, let alone, unusual performance of your government in Chitral and Dir districts. They are the top tourist destinations of the province. .. Prof Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 21 Feb 2022.