CHITRAL: The anticipated announcement of a new district in Chitral encompassing its upper parts by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in a public rally scheduled for Wednesday (today) has got a mixed response from the local people as one segment terms it a political gimmick and the other considers it as a catalyst for development.
The two segments are though in complete accord on the bifurcation of the district having an area of about 15,000 square kilometres and covering 22 per cent of the total area of the province, they differed on the timing of its announcement.
Many say that the PTI leadership is going to announce the new district at fag end of its tenure as they are in power for about four to five more months during which they will not be able to establish the hierarchy of the new district on sound footing. They say the creation of new district has not been reflected in the budget of current fiscal year.
All Pakistan Muslim League president Sultan Wazir said that he welcomed a new district in Chitral, but he was sceptical about the sincerity of the government about materialising its announcement. He feared that the decision at this time could create a number of administrative problems for the people.
Mr Wazir, who retired recently from the federal bureaucracy, said that the creation of a district needed a rigorous homework of about two years which included different phases ranging from feasibility study to preparing master plan for establishment of the district secretariat and housing facilities for the employees to be posted coupled with the provision of basic amenities.
“The district created in haste and haphazard manner will be counterproductive and will give birth to a myriad of problems and an administrative vacuum will pop up,” he said, adding that mere posting of a deputy commissioner and district police officer would be of no use.
He said that decision could result in alienation for PTI if the newly-created district did not deliver the expected facilities to the people.
MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin also appreciated the move, but said that the PTI-led government had failed to deliver to the people of Chitral during its four and half years in power. He said that the proposed new district should not be another ‘Torghar’ which had been announced by the previous ANP government six years ago, but still lacked all essential requirements of a district.
MPA from upper Chitral and PPP leader Sardar Hussain Shah claimed that three years ago Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had termed the creation of upper district a counterproductive exercise.
PTI leader Rahmat Ghazi claimed that the new district would start working smoothly the day after it was announced as the present pool of resources and assets of the district would be divided into two. However, he admitted that the new district would be fully functional within next three years.
Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2017