CHITRAL: Members of the village conservation committee (VCC) of Denin Lasht here have asked the caretaker chief minister to take action against the chief conservator and divisional forest officer (DFO) of the wildlife department for ‘manipulating’ the election of the organisation.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Qari Ebadur Rahman, Shuaib Ahmed, Mustajab Khan, Baghdad Khan, Noor Rahim Shah and others said the incumbent president of VCC, Fazlur Rahman had been holding the office of the president for last 24 years since its inception in 1999, and was determined to hold onto the post by any means.
They alleged when the present two-year term of his office ended in June this year, the DFO of wildlife division, Chitral tried to get him re-elected by using dubious means and without any legal authority. The DFO got cancelled the membership of those opposing his moves, thus converting their majority into minority, they alleged.
The only reason the DFO cited for cancelling the memberships was that he had been directed by the chief conservator to ensure the success of Fazlur Rahman at any cost, the VCC members claimed, saying the officers were perpetrating worst type of manipulation to get Mr Rahman re-elected.
The elders alleged during the two-and-half decade tenure of the incumbent president, the officers of the wildlife department had been hand in glove with him to ‘squander’ the body’s funds. This was the reason they kept re-electing him after every two-years, thus setting aside all the rules to conceal their ‘corruption’, they claimed.
They expressed their determination to foil Mr Rahman’s attempt to get him re-elected in a ‘fraudulent’ way, and make the conservation body a vibrant one to protect the population of Kashmir markhor and other biodiversity.
They alleged in 2014, the incumbent president had given the contract to construct a wildlife sanctuary in the conservancy to his brother and committed corruption in league with the then officers of wildlife. They said a large amount of money was wasted as the structure failed to serve the purpose.
They regretted the president did never yield to divulge the accounts of VCC despite their repeated requests. They demanded of the chief minister to order special audit of the accounts of the VCC.
Published in Dawn, Aug 5th, 2023