ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: The Chitral district government has taken exception to a decision of the Frontier Corps to shift the recruitment centre of the Chitral Scouts from its headquarters in the district to Hayatabad, Peshawar, with effect from Oct 1.
In a letter to Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, Chitral District Nazim Shahzada Mohiuddin said the move would aggravate the situation for the local youth as the area faced innumerable communications problems, besides remaining cut off from the rest of the country for almost five months each year due to the closure of the Lowari Pass in the winter.
He said people living in the far-flung villages of the 14,800 square-kilometre valley would be particularly affected as they even found it difficult to reach Chitral city on time due to the absence of communications infrastructure.
He said the unemployed youth would even be unable to bear the transportation and lodging costs while travelling to and from the proposed centre, situated at a distance of about 450km from Chitral.
The Nazim said President Gen Pervez Musharraf had been taking keen interest in solving the communications problems of the district and the government should discourage such steps which were bound to further complicate the situation. The decision would also negate the government’s claim of providing services at the doorsteps of the common man, he added.
The Chitral Scouts celebrated its centenary this year and has its headquarters in Chitral city. On the face of increasing unemployment rate, educated youth have been joining the force in a large number in the recent years.
After the former USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the strength of the force was increased manifold as situation along the area’s border with Afghanistan became precarious with frequent infiltrations of Soviet planes.
When the USSR withdrew from the neighbouring country, the scouts were scattered out to the country’s borders in the Northern Areas and other parts of the NWFP.
The force was in the forefront during the Kargil conflict and a large numbers of its jawans braced martyrdom.
With the hunt for the Al Qaeda remnants along the Afghan border, recruitment in the force has again been speeded up.