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20 February 2019

Hunger strike enters 8th day at Booni, Chitral

Chitral— Residents of Booni, a region some 75 KM from here, have set in a token hunger strike in protest against corruption of Communication & Works (C&W), Public Health Engineering and Irrigation departments. The hunger strike is now entering into its 8th day— demands, as of this report, without being fulfilled.

The residents have serious reservations about how public money is being used through ghost schemes and financial embezzlements and fraudulent documentations. Talking to this scribe, while on visit to the hunger strike camp, frustrated protesters said that the alleged departments have shown financial expenditures against complete or work-in-progress projects which do not even exist.

“Government has released billions of rupees for different developmental schemes in the area. On the ground, however, nothing substantial is seen. C & W department has shown on papers that the Booni Sub Division, Musjuj road has been blacktopped and metalled— embezzling huge amounts of money— but in reality the road has ditches all over.” They said.

They said that Irrigation department has been overlooking a water channel since 2002, spending millions of rupees. However, every year it takes huge amounts of money on its maintenance, nonetheless, the channel is still dry and there is no water in it. On top of it, there is no cultivable land to be irrigated from this channel. They claimed this water channel is a source of corruption money for officials. Residents of Booni, as per what was told, are deprived of even potable drinking water. They maintain roads on self-help basis while authorities sit and eat money earned from ghost schemes.

The residents say that they have been requesting local administration to conduct a detail inquiry into embezzlement of funds by C&W, Irrigation and Public health departments but without any attention.

They demand for conducting inquiry under supervision of a judge of high court in order to ascertain scale of funds embezzled on the ghost schemes. They otherwise warned of prolonged hunger strikes and protests. The KPK government was demanded of cracking down on corruption in this remote region of Pakistan. 

G.H.Farooqui has contributed to this story from Chitral, Pakistan
Photo Credits: 
G.H.Farooqui © 2013
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