August 3, 2019 at 6:04 pm
In total there is 154 districts in Pakistan and Chitral is the largest in area wise district of KPK province. The spread valleys makes hardly accessible especially in the winter seasons. The peoples in the valleys rushed to big cities in search of higher education, healthcare and for the better employment opportunities. The demand for new district was long but never been taken seriously worked towardsit asthere were more serious issues of access to rest of the country through Lowari tunnel. Now the PTI government has created two districts lower and upper Chitral in order to give relief to the peoples.
The two main reasons behind could be the lack of lowpolitical and least economic contribution of Chitral as compared to the rests of districts in KPK in the form of revenue generations and tax collections. In the political angle the people of Chitral have voted political parties who are mostly in opposition benches or remained independent in provincial and federal assemblies since the annex of Chitral with Pakistan in 1969.Chitral has no economic advantage to the provincial and federal governments in the form to generate tax collection. The only geo strategic location makes it important for security and now economic reasons that paid government attention for the area’s development. The alternative route of CPEC through Chitral will bring more economics activities and there is easy connect access to Afghanistan via Arandu border and Tajikistan via wokhan to central Asian countries for trade and other economic activities.
Districts in Pakistan usually created on strategic, political, ethnic and tribal lines but Chitral is created due to its inaccessibility especially in winter seasons.Now Booni headquarter of Upper Chitral which lackseven the basic facilities of health, electricity, quality education, drinking water and poor infrastructures & management. Themain road is in poor condition for long time and this affecting miserably people’slives. As the peoples in surrounding areas rush to Booni for their purchase, official work and different requirements and this causes rise in traffic flow day by day. For the current smooth flow of trafficthe government must make it priority to widen and carpeting the broken and narrow roads. Proper traffic plan is essential with proper parking spaces needs in hospitals sides along the main bazaar. I have notice vehicles with fruit and vegetable are parked in the main roads side which is troubling in traffic flow.
The other most pressing issue is health. Although there is Tehsil headquarter hospital and a private hospital but the health facilities are there aregrave concern. The THQ hospital have only one female doctor and lack of other obligatory doctors like no eye and ear doctor. The hospital lacks basic equipments and in case of an emergency at 2 o clock there is no doctor available and you can’t find even basic emergency medicine. The THQ hospital lacks technical staffs and equipment and have one ambulance for the entire area. The only best short term solution for this graver issue is public private partnership as this model is going successful in the other parts of Pakistan and Upper Chitral is best suitable for this partnership. For the successful model there needs concrete sincere planning and dedicated execution is the requirement.
As the population is increasing and creating numerous problems including huge garbage, electricity, lack of drinking water, sewerage system and lack of proper planning and execution will going to disturb the ecosystem.Although Chitral have number of challenges but also have numerous economic potentials which can explored and generate brimful opportunities. We have abundant untapped gold, copper, lead reserves, other minerals and the water reserves which can generate cheap hydel electricity and can connect to nation grid to curb national energy requirements. Tourism is growing in the area that requires better arrangement and promotion in return to get economic opportunities.
Now we hope from the new Deputy Commission to examine economic potential, employment opportunities, revenue generation, better public facilitation and infrastructure development for the new district. One should also keep in mind that the PTI government has promised the devolution of power to the local and village councils and if the PTI government come into power in the upcoming local government election then the pace of development get speed and missed link of easy communications with federal and provincial government can be fills. We have very good example of the wise people of Gilgit Baltistan they elect the party whom have government in federal and they preferred their regional interested of development.Despiteall one thing is possible with visionary and charismatic leadership.
The writer is Social Development Professional based in Karachi.