Who to blame for our backwardness? An open letter to Chitral’s political leaders

By Islamuddin

Since independence Chitral has seen very little development, especially of mindset. Had it not been for international donors, we would still have been living in the Stone Age not because the state of Pakistan did nothing for us but because of our poor quality self-serving leadership with a few honorable exceptions at the local level.

Our MPAs and MNAs voted to legislate for Chitral did nothing by way of legislation to create level playing field but allowed themselves to degenerate into local level councilors interested in commissions and promoting cronyism to win next elections, while Chitral needed statesmen having an eye on the next generation.

Not only that no contextual laws were framed for Chitral’s benefit or extended to it being part of PATA but existing applicable laws were blocked from being implemented in Chitral because these were not in the interest of influential people, including elected representatives, stuck to politics to protect their vested interests. Our literacy level may be high but the quality is very low, thanks to the politicization of the education sector. Recently, at least three efforts to cleanse education of black sheep were allegedly thwarted by the intervention of elected representatives and even PTI government could do nothing despite its claims of having introduced health and education emergencies.

Political expediencies always had an upper hand. Land management laws (Notification of 1975), Pure Food Act, Drug Act, EPA and price control laws remain unimplemented. The Notification of 1975 declaring mountains, glaciers, barren lands, pastures, river beds and forests as shamilat, where government would make rules for user rights or for lease with user right holders getting royalty but this law remains unimplemented since 1975 resulting in land erosion, deforestation and natural calamities like avalanche and flash floods. Even highways have been encroached upon with impunity. Chitrali culture and its traditions are under threat but no efforts are being made to extend to Chitral the laws for protecting antiquities and awqaf assets. Many historical and revered religious sites are going into the dustbin of history because our law makers have no time to legislate for them. These heritage sites can be saved by extending relevant laws to Chitral, currently pending either at Presidency or Governor House.

Our young MNA and MPA should have the vision to do what the old guard failed to do due to their limitations/in-box thinking. If tomorrow Chitralis lose their heritage and identity, history will hold these people responsible, some of them having ruled Chitral for decades did nothing of permanent value for its people. Through this letter I appeal to our leaders and intellectuals to allow rule of law to prevail in Chitral, not to promote cronyism and culture of impunity for petty transient gains, to rise above the self and think of Chitral that we want to bequeath to our future generation and also think as to how you want to be remembered in history.

Never forget of makafat-e-amal. Material wealth is no substitute for emotional and spiritual contentment, which would only come from selfless service to people and being accountable before one’s conscience, people and above all Allah, Almighty. May Allah guide us on the right path. (Ameen) 

The writer is Principal of Pamir Degree College/Institute of Education and Management, Garam Chashma.]]>

2 Replies to “Who to blame for our backwardness? An open letter to Chitral’s political leaders”

  1. I would like to put the same question to Mr Islamuddin. He quit his government service well before his retirement. We expected him to join politics but he had his own priorities. To the utter disappointment of many people including, me one of his great admirers, he ended up in becoming a headmaster through which he earns some money, perhaps. If he could have made a little effort people of his area would have definitely preferred him than Saleem Khan, our millionaire lawmaker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *