Report Abdul Nasir Khan
BROGHIL: Since creation of Pakistan, our area has been provided with one primary school, one dispensary and a grain grinding machine by successive governments. The primary school is not accessible to a majority of population while the dispensary is short of essential medicines and staff. The grinding machine soon after arrival could not be operated as its running cost was beyond the reach of the residents.
These views were expressed by residents of the far-off Broghil valley in an interaction with ChitralToday recently.
Broghil is located at a distance of about 250 kilometres from the Chitral town in the northeast of the district bordering with the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan.
“The area is mostly mountainous tracts. Elevations range from 3,280m at Kishmanjah village to 4,304m at Karamber Lake in northeast. The terrain is undulating, with steep mountains, wide stretch grassy plains and narrow valleys. The total area of is almost 3,400 ha,” according to Wikipedia.
Though a large number of people come to Broghil in the summer and enjoy its environs, ChitralToday correspondent visited the area in December last year and found it buried under deep snow with its residents confined to the four walls of their small houses without any basic facility such as drinking water. There are about 250 houses scattered in small hamlets and settlements with no proper road to connect them. These people still wholly depend on cattle farming for their livelihood. Due the lack of education, healthcare facilities and job opportunities the Wokhi people still live in Stone Age even in the 21st century.
There is no electricity and drinking water supply system and the river is frozen in the winter. The natives collect ice/snow and melt it for drinking and other purposes during the season. Dung of yaks and other animals are mostly used as fuel for cooking and heating purposes.
Talking to ChitralToday, Sher Gauhar of Chokar, Mansoor of Pech Uch, Akbar Khan from Chilimarbad, Juma Baig of Shikarvaz and Tawar Khan of Kishmanja said successive governments never provided any facilities to the people of Broghil. They said even in the 21st century they had only one primary school and a dispensary but both were not accessible to most of the people. The school lacks teachers and other facilities while the dispensary remains short of medicines and staff.
They said before every election, representatives of political parties come to the area and make lots of promises but after winning the election they never come back.
Last year, MPA Sardar Hussain came to Broghil and gave one grain grinding machine to facilitate the residents. But when the machine arrived the operator started charging Rs300 for grinding 40 kg of grain. As a result, the residents could not afford it and the machine remained unutilized.
Besides the government, NGOs, including AKRSP and SSRP, have also ignored the poor Wokhi people of Broghil and did nothing to provide them basic facilities.
The AKRSP a few years ago arranged a few solar panels to light up the houses but they were provided to selected people and most of the residents still remained deprived of the facility.
The residents said in 2014 during the annual Broghil festival, SRSP chief executive officer (CEO) Shahzada Msoodul Mulk inaugurated work on the construction of a powerhouse in Broghil. But after his departure from the area, no progress was made on the project. The residents said they were hopeful that being a prince, Masoodul Mulk would keep his promise but their expectations were wrong.
Are we not human beings, do we have no rights, are we not the citizens of Pakistan and should get at least the basic amenities of life. Why we are discriminated against?
It may be noted that the KP government enacted the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO) Act in 2014 under which small powerhouses are being established in areas which have no electricity. For Chitral, the contract for the establishment of over 50 powerhouses has been given to the AKRSP. But, surprisingly, Broghil has not been included in the list of areas to get any small powerhouse.
When ChitralToday contacted Darjat Muhammad, the director of the PEDO projects in Chitral, he said he would soon visit Broghil for a feasibility study. It meant that so far Broghil is not in the priority list of the AKRSP for the establishment of a powerhouse under the KP government-funded project.
Broghil residents said the Central Asian Foundation, launched by a resident of Gojal in Gilgit-Baltistan, carried out some work for the promotion of education in the valley. This NGO has set up three schools, including high school in the area where a large number of local children are acquiring education. When a resident from Gilgit-Baltistan can take such a step for the welfare of the poor Wokhi people, it is strange why the government and scores of NGOs active in Chitral have never thought of taking some humanitarian initiatives to bring a semblance of improvement to the lives of the Wokhi people.