CHITRAL: All seven sub-tehsils of Chitral district have been functioning without naib tehsildars for five years forcing junior clerks to manage the affairs of the basic administrative units.

Chitral was divided into sub-tehsils of Chitral, Drosh, Arandu, Lot Koh, Torkhow, Mulkhow and Mastuj in 1954.

They’re administered by naib tehsildars, who used to discharge the same functions as did the DC in the district and acted as a bridge between the government and the people at the grassroots level.

Junior clerks handling affairs of basic administrative units

A union council chairman in 1980s, Zar Qabool, told Dawn that the naib tehsildars were the most vibrant and effective tools of administration, who supervised the other departments in their area as well including dispensary, schools, food warehouses, roads, water supply schemes and bridges apart from their functions on revenue side.

He said the post of naib tehsildar in a sub-tehsil was not left vacant even for a day and if an incumbent went on a long leave, the ‘look-after’ charge was given to that of the nearest station as if the heaven would fall in his absence.

The former council chairman said the naib tehsildar, the most venerated officer of the area, had become a icon of the government in the lowest level and conversant with the local cultural traits and traditions, his decisions and decrees were acceptable to the people who solved the issues before they flared up.

He said the naib tehsildar kept the law and order situation in his area through negotiations in the rudiment stage and his report was given due credence by the sub-divisional and district administration and the AC or DC rushed to the spot with senior police officers.

Mr Qabool said the abolition of the office of commissioner as a result of the ‘so-called’ plan for devolution of power introduced by military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2001 proved highly counterproductive as the naib tehsildar was nowhere in the new system, which was devoid of any apparatus or tool to fill the vacuum of that officer.

Recalling an episode of mid 1970s, the former council nazim said when a DC on a visit to one of the high schools of upper Chitral, asked a senior student in the class room to name the highest officer of the district, the answer was naib tehsildar.

He said good governance was closely connected with the posting of naib tehsildars selected by the public service commission and imparted training on general and revenue administration, who would be more useful for the public than ever before by coordinating the efforts of the representatives of local bodies.

The information gathered from the office of Chitral DC shows that four posts of tehsildar (BPS-16) in tehsilsof Chitral, Drosh, Mastuj and Mulkhow and all eleven posts of naib tehsildars (BPS-14) are vacant, while junior officials are working on five of them.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018