Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
The mountains and the scattered settlements across the two districts have very poor road system and in most cases deplorably bad that many outsiders return at different bends and turns after travelling from distant parts of the country. It is actually not because the government is doing her duty but the case is quite contrary from the very beginning. Chitralis have a very different culture but live in a province where Pathans are in overwhelming majority and most of them know nothing about the existence of Chitral in the hinterland-far away from their areas and they have very poor or no knowledge of geography of the region, let along Chitral. Those who live in the neighbourhood of Chitral come here and have occupied the business market and all the males of their families have got shops each and run business. They don’t care about the poor infrastructure of Chitral but Chitralis must.
The road system and network has been discussed many times in previous articles including burning of a cap recently as a show of protest but no improvement has been noticed. The provincial government is interested in energy sector, CPEC route from Chakdara to Chitral to Gilgit via Shandur pass but that is a long way off. It may not commence in decades. What we, the Chitralis, are suffering is the poorest living condition inside the two districts. Not a single kilometer of black top road has been added to the present roads in any financial year. It is a great injustice and has created feelings of hatred in a section of civil society that Chitral is calculatedly being ignored as we don’t belong to Pathan culture and we are not Pathans and therefore the majority does not care about cultural minorities. We are being treated like untouchables in the Pathan majority province. Our lives carry no value for the rulers who hail from the hardcore Pathan fanatics who rise to fight any time on any minor issue. We are fed up with this cultural proximity and bad behavior. Chitralis are sensitive people and it is our mistake to trust a Pathan government to treat us like humans. They want to give us leftovers and talk of it as great kindness.
As Chitralis we have to unite to demand our rights, our share in the provincial resources, in the developmental schemes, in social welfare programs, in the improvement of infrastructure immediately. Billions are spent on other districts but what we get is an iota and for the last two decades no work on construction of roads or repair of roads has been undertaken. We are too much frustrated and this will surely arouse feelings that might be detrimental for the unity of the province.