By Prof. Rahmat Karim
The extreme north parts of KP are known as Chitral, now divided into two districts for political reasons on the demand of the people for the larger area that it covers but with sparse population in about thirty six valleys that are inaccessible in winters due to heavy snowfall as well as lamentably poor roads.
This situation is a headache for the provincial government as she has failed to develop an efficient infrastructure for the mountainous region hemmed in by lofty peaks and sierras of Hindu Kush range extending for about 700 km. The terrain is not stable and due to seismic instability it has further aggravated. The 6 to 12 feet wide roads come under avalanche and landslides and NHA is not in Chitral in proper form to deal with each roadblock.
Many roads under heavy snow are opened by the people of the valleys concerned- an exercise that is not known anywhere else. The road coolie system has very kindly been finished and the burden of reopening the roads lies on the shoulders of the local people. And for this downsizing of the C&W staff has cast a very negative impact and bad impression of the policies of the deptt. concerned.
The Chitralis on the other hand have not got the quarrelsome nature to come to the roads with batons and guns to show an aggressively sentimental action every other day as our Pathan friends – the co-tribesmen of the CM and his team – show in different districts of the province to block the roads or chant slogans against the authorities.
The silence and resilience has shed a very bad effect on the new generation and social life of the inhabitants of the hinterland. Mass protests are not known in Chitral. Crimes and related issues are rare. The peace and tranquility is good for officials but highly detrimental for the inhabitants which multiply each year. The political leadership of the ignorant Chitralis has not concerned, as they are selfish group with vested interests who wag their tails at the signal of the higher political leaders and don’t dare to speak against their parties.
It is the paucity of dynamic leadership that has thrown Chitral in the abyss of backwardness. The educated youth are running after jobs but due to small population we get only a few vacancies each time there are job announcements. The man in the street is bewildered and sees no solution to his problems.
We have the opportunity to get together and discuss our problems and suggest ways to solve them. A project that was initiated ten years back is still going on and off for scarcity of funds from the provincial government. The Federal government does not contribute a dime. Chitral has water and mineral resources. Hydel power stations can easily be built in months and the issue of fuel or firewood could be solved very easily compared to other districts of the country.
The mini hydel power houses have been left incomplete for shortage of funds. The roads in all the valleys are getting narrower each year due to landslides as well as absence of road coolies instead of being widened according to the needs of the time and the growing population. In this scenario the VISION of adventure Tourism cannot be materialized and, therefore, no major headway is to been expected in the near future unlike the pre-1960 period of Chitral.
The Chitralis are disgusted with the administrative system and the bureaucracy who doesn’t care for improvement as it means extra work which is not liked by any official from top to bottom as the media had crippled their ability to work. This is the beginning towards a collapse of the social system first in Chitral and thereafter in other parts of the country.
We need strong administrators, efficient to take quick decisions and implementing them within the specified periods. This type of devoted, honest and sincere bureaucrats are nowhere to be found and if there is one he is not allowed by his corrupt colleagues to take bold measures which could create more workload for them.
Chitral is a neglected patch of land somewhere in the shadows of Hindu Kush mountains and its inhabitants countless compared to those living in the Pathan territories who have good skills of abduction for ransom, Bhata, pick pocketing, burglary, shooting innocent people, rape, practice of usury, theft, profiteering, hoarding, blocking roads, theft of electricity and these skills are absent in the character of Chitralis who live below poverty level but cannot beg or pickpocket or intimidate or threaten.