[News from Press] Chitralis seek merger with Gilgit-Baltistan
September 20, 2009 1 Comment
By Zar Alam Khan
ISLAMABAD: The people of Mastuj tehsil in the NWFP district of Chitral have demanded that their area should be merged into the neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan saying the NWFP government has failed to provide them basic facilities and protect their property and lives.
The demand came at a protest meeting held against the government’s inaction to take timely steps against substandard reconstruction of a nearby bridge which collapsed for the second time killing three persons on Saturday.
The area people had warned the government that the same old and dilapidated materials were being used in the reconstruction of the bridge, that collapsed July 28 killing one person and disconnecting the whole area with the other parts of the valley as well as Gilgit-Baltistan. But the authorities did not pay heed to the public concern. It may be noted that the district nazim of Chitral, Maghfirat Shah of the Jamaat-e-Ismami, at teh Shandur festival 2009 had also demanded that Chitral should be given under the fedral government instead of NWFP.
Those who spoke at the protest demonstration occasion included Mastuj Tehsil Nazim Shahzada Sikendarul Mulk, Abdur Rehman, Fateh Ali Shah, Sardar Ahmad and Mohammad Hayat.
Through a resolution unanimously passed on the occasion, the meeting said Gilgit-Baltistan had been given the provincial status and the people of upper Chitral should be merged into that region. Due to its proximity and cultural affinities, the masses of the Mastuj subdivision would be better off if they were included in Gilgit-Baltistan, they added.
They said for the last many years people of the tehsil had been ignored in all fields of development and as a result they were deprived of all basic rights, including healthcare facilities, education road and communication infrastructures.
The protesters warned the government that if the bridge was not constructed within a week, they would take to the streets. They also demanded that immediate action should be taken and a case be registered against those responsible for collapse of the bridge including the contractor who used old materials in its reconstruction. Source