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CHARSADDA: Frustrated by their longstanding problems, people of Shabqadar tehsil have threatened to launch a series of protest rallies and road blockades if their grievances are not given heed by the government.

The elders of Shabqadar, including activists of political parties and civil society and heads of social welfare organisations, told Dawn during a forum organised by Mohammadzai Union of Journalists that people of this backward region had been facing a plethora of problems since long, but successive governments failed to solve them.

The speakers included Mohammad Jan advocate, Maqsood Akhtar, Rahim Shah Bacha, Miraj Khan, Rahat Sher, Mohammad Irshad, Khan of Ocha Wala, Haji Jan Syed and others.

They said that tehsil status was given to Shabqadar in 1988, but till date it had been deprived of all the facilities allowed to a tehsil.

The dwellers of Shabqadar, a sub-district of Charsadda, came down hard on the elected representatives from the area, saying they continued to ignore the miseries of their electorates.

The speakers asked the people to make the elected representative accountable for their deeds when they come to them again for votes.

They regretted that there was no degree college for girls in Shabqadar, and as such thousands of girls were being deprived of higher education.

Besides, the main Shabqdar-Charsadda road was in a dilapidated condition. They also complained of unavailability of sufficient medical staff and lifesaving medicines in the tehsil headquarter hospital.

They said that prolonged power and gas loadshedding had made their lives miserable. “It looks that far-flung areas of Shabqadar are the major target of Pesco officials.

There is over 18-hour daily loadshedding there while rest of tehsil is marred by low-voltage,” says Mr Jan.

They said that power outages had ruined businesses in the region. They recalled that as a goodwill gesture the elders of the area had joined the recovery teams and recovered huge amount from the defaulters in the area.

They said the elders held corner meetings to cooperate with Pesco teams.

They said that in return the Pesco XEN had promised smooth supply of electricity to the area, but he failed to fulfill his promise.

They warned to launch a civil disobedience campaign, saying people would be asked not to submit bills in case power outages were not ended.

They said that most of the houses and the main Shabqadar bazaar had been kept deprived of gas connections. They warned of staging protest rallies at main Bacha Khan Chowk if the gas connections were not given within a week.