By Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: Residents of Chitral are facing problems due to the ‘poor performance’ of the district administration. There’s neither a laboratory in the remote mountainous district, nor are the hospitals equipped to tackle the huge challenge posed by the global outbreak of Coronaviruses pandemic.
The district administration has imposed section 144 and residents of the region are being returned from the Lowari tunnel area, which is adding to the challenges of the residents of Upper and Lower Chitral, two separate district.
These points were raised by Abdul Akbar Chitrali, member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, during a press conference held at the Chitral Press Club.
He accused the district administration of not taking political parties, elected representatives and the public into confidence before taking such measures. He added that the administration’s efforts might not succeed without broad support and buy-in.
He was accompanied by Amir Khan Hayatullah Khan, Tehsil Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, General Secretary Fazal Rabi and Wajihuddin, President of the Youth Wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.
The MNA “strongly condemned” the decisions of Deputy Commissioner Lower Chitral to ban entry of passengers in Chitral. He said that the outbreak had occurred in Pakistan more than a month ago. The district administration should have first trained its doctors and health staff and to provide them safe clothing that could inspect coronavirus patients. While saving their lives, they have no preparation or arrangement yet.
The district headquarters hospital has designated an isolation ward, but there are only four ventilators which were not operational for four years and have not been operated, except for a screening machine for inspection of suspected virus patients at Chitral Hospital or at the Quarantine Center.
He said that the provincial government has allocated meager funds for Upper Chitral. He demanded that 5 crore rupees be allocated for Lower Chitral and 4 crore for Upper Chitral district.
In response to a question, Maulana Chitrali also criticized the provincial government that he had given three government hospitals to a non-governmental organization for which they were funded by crores of rupees annually but the people there were always complaining that no discount is provided them and their treatment is also very expensive as compared to Govt hospitals.
MNA Chitrali warned that due to wrong policies of the government and the district administration, people will be in trouble and they will face hardships.. “We are fully prepared to cooperate with the government and the administration on the prevention of the Corona virus if the administration takes us into confidence,” he said.
Later, this scribe visited the District Headquarters Hospital and met the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Shamim, who confirmed that the four ventilator machines available in the hospital have not been operated for four years.
He urged the patients to stay home and avoid visiting the hospital for normal, non-critical, check-ups.