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Neglected Swat-Kohistan

January 23, 2013

SWAT-Kohistan (not the Indus-Kohistan in the Karakoram) is the upper mountainous valley in Swat district at a distance of about 55km from the district headquarters, Saidu Sharif. It is a narrow valley with snow-packed peaks on both sides of the Swat River. It is blessed with natural beauty but equally cursed with acute poverty, ignorance, marginalisation and negligence.

Swat-Kohistan is home to three major non-Pashtun ethno-linguistic communities, namely Torwali, Gawri and Gujar. Among them the Torwali community is in majority. The total population of the area is over 250,000 with Torwali having more than 110,000. But this area lacks educational infrastructure. The whole area has only one high school for girls. And there exists no college, either for boys or girls, in the area.

Administratively, the whole area is divided into six union councils as Bahrain, Mankiyal, Balakot, Kalam, Utror and Bishigram. Since 1969 Swat Kohistan has been neglected.

When there was Wali Swat all the roads of Swat Kohistan were well-constructed and well-designed. This area is called PK 85. Although Sayed Jafar Shah is the present MPA here, I haven’t notice any positive step by him so far.

When you enter PK 85, you will find that there are no roads, just a jeep track. There are no girls’ colleges and schools, and there are no electricity or water-supply schemes.

The authorities concerned are requested to look into the matter immediately and help the residents of the area.

MUJAHID TORWALI Swat