A couple of days ago I read an article by one of my teachers and famous scholar Dr. Inayatullah Faizi on the problems pertaining to the NBP Chitral main branch. That takes me back to the time when I was a student in Qutaiba Public School Chitral and later Govt Degree College Chitral (2005-2008). The National Bank of Pakistan Chitral building used to be near the Ataligh Bridge, prominently standing facing the main road. It used to have a parking area outside and quite spacious inside. Although it was also not the best in terms of its space and facilities but was very fine.
Later the bypass road was built and this building was demolished and shifted to a nearby roof. I call it a roof because it is literally a roof of some shops which was turned into a barrack for NBP. During the time when bypass road was being constructed competitors to the NBP started building their offices on more accessible and better locations such as Bank Alfalah on DC House Road, BoK on Ataligh bridge road, Habib Metro on bypass road, Bank Islami near BoK, HBL on Commerce College road. But NBP main branch remained there in the barrack since then. Customers including the aged pensioners, women and men enter a dark stair to go to the roof. Upon conquering the dark stairs there’s another small door. The verandah is too small and people have to clung to the windows and each other to reach to the officers.
This bank also caters the government salaried individuals of both district upper and lower Chitral besides pensioners and general account holders. Inside the bank there’s no organization due to lack of space, work load and number of customers to deal with. The manager has a small room where sometimes generously the manager makes space available for women customers who can’t bear the traffic of men in the verandah. These issues of space, organization, accessibility and working environment should also be affecting the employees mental and physical health. I don’t know why the staff don’t protest. May be they think that a Govt sector is too stagnant to bring a change.
NBP is the oldest and biggest bank in the country. NBP Chitral main branch can easily be shifted to a better place or new building and NBP can cover the expenses of shifting or new building in two years easily. Being the oldest and biggest branch in Chitral and having an anchor position for the branches around it, this branch won’t be facing any investment issue. However, I don’t know why the Govt. is not taking interest providing quality environment to the people and its staff members. Any official visiting Chitral can go to the private banks I mentioned above and see the difference. In this era of technology and advancement, NBP main branch represents grain store where some chairs and tables are put together with computers on it and call it a bank. There is no ATM at the bank. The stairs are dark and not human friendly. There’s no parking area. Below the building there is ‘ada’ for kalash valleys, down country and hardware stores. One of the reasons young generation like us work for private companies is the working environment which makes you feel better the morning you step into the office. One of the reasons customers find other banks efficient is the reason that due to the environment (building, facilities, organization) customers get quality service.
Therefore, it is a humble request to the National Bank of Pakistan authorities that kindly pursue the matter. The main branch building has become a laughing stock for the people who go there. We are proud of the name ‘National’ and we want to see it as a representation of our nation. It actually represents our nation. NBP is the only nationalized bank in Pakistan and represents the State Bank as well. So may it represent better, please.
Atta Ur Rehman