CHITRAL: The steep rise in the prices of essential commodities has led to constrain majority of Chitrali families, who used to go to the cities of the down country for three months of the winter season.

A large number of the affluent families of the district used to leave their homes in different valleys for Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi in the last week of December with the closure of schools for winter vacations to return by early March next year.

The heads of several such families told Dawn that rise in prices greatly reduced their financial capacity to withstand the expenses as they were not able to save enough amount to repeat the routine.

They said that the rates of transport fares, rents of houses in the cities and prices of food items escalated beyond their reach, forcing them to give up their schedule of going on a sojourn to the warm places of the country during winter.

Miraj Khan, a senior schoolteacher, said that his family was in the village for the first time after nine years in the winter. He said that it would be a difficult season for his children, who had developed a habit of living in Peshawar till the month of March.

In the past, affluent people used to move to big cities in harsh weather

He said that he failed to save enough money during the last nine months to afford the increased prices of commodities, transport fares and house rent.

Mr Khan said that he knew four of his colleagues in his school in Upper Chitral who would not proceed to the down country during that season owing to price hike.

Prof Fatimi, a retired college teacher, said that it had reportedly turned to be a matter of ostentation to aggrandise one’s social status by spending winters in Peshawar, Islamabad and other cities. Many families did it in ‘competition’ with their neighbours, relatives and friends, he added.

“Thanks to the rising prices of the commodities of daily life and that of petroleum products which equalised all as during the current winter season very few affluent families have left for the down country,” he said in a light vein.

ARREST: Police claimed to have arrested scores of drug pushers in different villages of Chitral during a campaign.

An official told Dawn that during the last four days, a large quantity of charas was recovered in the pointed operation in the villages of Kari, Orghoch, Drosh, Parabeg, Chew Dok and Jughoor and the durg pushers were arrested.

He said that people were extending full cooperation to police by providing information about the activities of the people involved in the heinous business of drug peddling.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020