PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday notified formation of Upper Chitral district with its headquarters in Booni town.

Earlier, the provincial cabinet in its meeting on November 8 had approved bifurcation of the province’s largest district into Chitral and Upper Chitral.

A notification issued by the Board of the Revenue said that in exercise of powers conferred under sections 5 and 6 of Land Revenue Act, 1967, the provincial government was pleased to notify Upper Chitral as a district with Booni town as its district headquarters with immediate effect.

Booni will be district headquarters of the new unit

It said that the district would comprise Mastuj and Torkhow/Mulkhow subdivisions. However, provincial government did not tinker with the boundaries of the upper and lower parts of the district as no area of Chitral tehsil was included in the district.

The notification shows that union councils and wards including Booni, Laspur, Mastuj and Yarkhun will be parts of Mastuj tehsil while Torkhow/Mulkhow tehsil would comprise of Khot, Shogram, Terich, Mulkhow, Kosht and Owir union councils.

Chitral was the largest district of the province in terms of area and spread over 14,850 square kilometres before the bifurcation. The previous provincial government of PTI had decided bifurcation of Chitral in its twilight days; however, soon after the government departure, the process of craving out another district hit snag as Election Commission of Pakistan banned tinkering with territorial jurisdiction of districts and divisions ahead of polls.

PTI Chitral president Abdul Latif told Dawn that his party fulfilled one of the longstanding demands of the people of the area. He said that people of Upper Chitral staged a protest at Shandur polo ground for the purpose during the late Benazir Bhutto government and police baton charged them.

Mr Latif said that earlier last year, when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Chitral, the local people demanded bifurcation of the district. He said that Mr Khan had directed the then chief minister Pervez Khattak to bifurcate the district.

He said that previous government was just about to notify the creation of new district, when the government completed its tenure and ECP banned changing territorial limits of the districts.

He said that bifurcation would put the district on the way to development as it has doubled the number of tehsils to four from two while it also create new jobs and development opportunities for the neglected and remote district.

Mr Latif said that they would also try to get provincial assembly seat for the newly craved district so that elections on which could be held together with erstwhile seats for the provincial assembly.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018

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