CHITRAL: The dreaded Covid-19 has been keeping both skilled and unskilled labourers here from going to southern districts of the country to seek jobs.

Retired Prof Shamsun Nizar Fatimi told this correspondent that the pandemic had already unleashed a string of factors to restrict sources of income in Chitral thereby triggering poverty.

He said tourism sector remained dormant during the summer season and this year thousands of labourers had been rendered jobless during winter.

He said the fear of lockdown was forcing them to stay at home.

Mr Fatimi said as per a social survey done by an NGO a decade ago almost 70 per cent of the surveyed households in Chitral had one of their male members working in down country for earning livelihood for their families, while in over 30 per cent cases they were the sole breadwinners.

The labourers usually leave their villages in October or early November and return by end of May next year with enough money to meet expenses of their families for the next few months.

In the job market, Chitralis are given preference for working in shops and in construction industry for their sound physique and stamina to work for extended hours.

Prof Fatimi feared that poverty would increase in Chitral over the next one year due to skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and unemployment of daily wagers.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Special scholarships were awarded to the top three position-holders of Secondary School Certificate (SCC) examinations on district level each in public and private sector schools in a function held here the other day in which MPA Maulana Hedayatur Rahman was chief guest.

Theses scholarships are being given by Qari Faizullah, the president of a Karachi-based Madressah Imam Mohammad, since 2003.

The top position-holders Laiba Hayat of GD Langlands School and Mohammad Yasir of Government Centennial Model School, Chitral, secured scholarship of Rs50,000 each.

The second prize of Rs40,000 each was given to Farheen Faiza of GD Langlands School and Khanzala Saeed of GHS Ayun while Arooj Alam of Qutaiba Public School and Sajid Iqbal of centennial school, Chitral, secured third prize of Rs30,000 each.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020

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