CHITRAL: Almost three years after Nawaz Sharif announced to waive small agriculture loans of farmers in Chitral in the aftermath of the devastating July 2015 floods, his party’s Chitral chapter has reminded him of the agony his promise caused to the locals.
During his visit to different parts of Chitral, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif told people in Kuragh on July 22, 2015, that as a relief measure, all loans amounting to less than 0.5 million would be waived in Chitral. But after his announcement no progress was made as the State Bank never issued any notification to the banks to waive the loans.
On the other hand, believing in the prime minister’s announcement, the farmers did not return the loans while banks continued pressuring them to pay and adding the interest on it. Now both the farmers and the banks are in a blind alley.
The locals blame the elected representatives, especially the MNA Chitral, for not pursuing the matter with the prime minister to order the State Bank to issue a notification. Sources say that the MNA was not in a favour of getting the loans written off. Though the MNA time and again promised to get the notification issued and even once told a gathering of people in Mastuj that not only the ZTBL but even the private micro finance bank loans had been waived.
Now the banks have expedited their drive asking the defaulters to pay not only the original amount but also the interest accumulated since 2015. As general elections approached, the PML-N’s local chapter has started feeling the public anger and wrote a letter to the former prime minister reminding of his promise and the agony it had put the farmers in.
In the letter to Mr Sharif, PML-N Chitral president Navidur Rehman Chughtai advocate wrote: “I write to you with great hope, as you had announced to give amnesty of agriculture loan to indebted people meanwhile food and earthquake in Chitral. IPOS Facto, the indebted people did not pay the loan as well as the interest to the bank. As the bank staff is tantalizing the people to pay the loans, the payment of loan is beyond their capacity. All the people of Chitral, with the care (sic) of their heart are admiring your generous assistance in flood and earthquake calamities.”
The letter appealed to the former prime minister to waive the loans in Chitral in accordance with the announcement made on July 2, 2015.