Report Munir Hussyn Fatemi
CHITRAL: Since the early 1970s, Roti, Kapra and Makaan (food, clothing and shelter) has been the eye-catching slogan and the main point of the manifesto of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
But has the party ever been able to fulfil the sugar-coated promise? During its very rule, children have died of malnutrition in Thar, near Larkana, the hub of the PPP. With the passage of time, the party has been confined to the selected areas of its main bastion in the province of Sindh mainly due to its failure to keep its promises.
What to talk of landlords, business tycoons and others who hoodwinked the poor by raising the populist slogans of the PPP, even the PPP workers in Chitral have become chaudries of their own. (Picture below shows a tree cut to build a new road to the village of MPA Saleem Khan).
Take the example of PPP MPA Saleem Khan who since 2008 has remained in the provincial assembly, with a stint as a minister from 2008 to 2013, but failed to make an improvement in the lives of his voters.
After the 2013 elections when local workers and elected representatives of different political parties remained at each other’s throat in Chitral, MPA Saleem Khan quietly planning to spend a whopping Rs23 crores on the construction of a separate road to his hometown of Kandujal in Garam Chashma even though there is already an old road to the small picturesque valley.The residents of the area while talking to ChitralToday said there was absolutely no need to construct a separate road to Kandujal as there was already a road to Kandujal. They said the main Garam Chashma-Chitral road remained in a dilapidated condition for years and was damaged at different points due to floods but the government always ignored its reconstruction on the pretext of shortage of funds. But strangely they said Rs280 million were being wasted on building an unnecessary road now.
However, at present work on the road has been stopped after objections raised by the people whose land and houses were to be affected.
When ChitralToday contacted Mr Islamuddin, retired senior bureaucrat and the current principal of Pamir Public School, he said it would be a luxury and privileged road for the MPA. He said people whose houses would be demolished for making way to the MPA house road were not going to get any compensation, so naturally they would protest.
“I have learned that 28 coror rupees have been allocated for the road but even if this whole amount is utilized for compensating the local people whose houses and land would be affected by the project it would not be sufficient.” (Picture below shows Chitral-Grama Chashma road never repaired due to lack of funds).
He suggested that there should be a ring road that can cover most of the area that are geographically too steep. He also expressed concerns over the cutting of trees for the construction of the new road, adding deforestation in Chtral had already left a heavy toll on the local population in terms of floods.
He further said most of the people in the area depended upon the potato crop grown on their limited land.
Where would the orphan children of late Shazda Khan go as they would be left with no other land except their home after the construction of the road through their land.
“I have a big walnut tree from which I earn 30,000 to 40,000 rupees ever year. Now it is set to be cut down as the huge old tree has been marked for removal during the survey for the road,” said another resident of the area.
There were scores of other people who termed the new road an extravaganza of their MPA.
Unio Council Nazim Khosh Muhammad said it was astonishing that the MPA was dreaming to have a first class road to his hometown but never thought of constructing the main Chitral-Garam Chashma road. This shows the priorities and sense of public service of our elected representatives, he regretted.
Despite repeated attempts, MPA Saleem Khan could not be contacted by ChitralToday for his comments on the matter.
Report Munir Hussyn Fatemi