Residents of Shangla have questioned the candidates of the different political parties about their previous performance, accused them involved in construction business and declared the leadership responsible for incomplete uplift schemes.
A meeting was called at the district Jirga Hall in Alpuri on Tuesday, attended by local stakeholders, youth and social activists besides ordinary people. Candidates of the different political parties who are likely to contest elections were called at the meeting.
The participants asked each of the candidates, his party previous performance for the district Shangla progress and even criticized the political leaders for being involved in the constructions businesses and received their bills before completion of uplift projects.
The PTI’s candidate Abdul Maula, PML-N candidate Muhammad Rashad Khan, PPP candidate Afsarulmulk, Mutawakil Khan from ANP, Shah Sawood from AWP and JUI-F candidate Muhammad Imad Khan were present.
Fazal Haq, a social activist from Lilownai alleged that Amir Muqam and his family had been involved in the construction business since Amir Muqam was first elected as MNA from Shangla in 2002.
“During the 22 years of politics, Amir Muqam assets increased dramatically, even today his elder son Niaz Ahmad Khan is going to buy helicopter and he is one of the top contractor of the country after sucking the blood of Shangla people,” Mr Haq claimed while asking for reply from the PML-N leaders.
Ali Bhash Khan, village council chairman from Basi said the impoverished masses of Shangla had been working as coalminer at miles distance from their homes and their bodies received every month because of the lack of jobs opportunities at the home district.
He said people vote and elected politicians and they appeared after completion of tenure for next elections and promise for another chance thus their issues yet to be addressed.
Gulab Shahpuri, a politician-cum educationist said PML-N and PTI claims that they brought billions of funds to Shangla but he never seen a single mega project and completion of even small level schemes.
He said Shangla had become a centre for corruption for both politicians and bureaucrats who looted it with both hands, hence politicians going to contest elections present their concrete performance and make themselves accountable first.
Nasir Iqbal, a local resident said he felt ashamed since heard that government had reverted the Shangla University status to sub-campus of the Swat University depriving the poor masses of the district from education because education was not the interest of Shangla leadership but only roads.
He said they approved roads projects and then got contracts for their own firms and that project either abandoned incomplete or used sub-standard material because of no check on the elected people’s firms.
He added that religious parties used the religious cards at all level but never spoke for education and underprivileged coalminer rights, while the PTI’s government had announced jobs and Rs 1 million stipend for the family members of those whose bodies remains were founds after 11 years but it failed to fulfill the promise.
The candidates while replying to the audience claimed they worked for the district progress during their tenures and presented their manifestoes too.
PPP leader Afsarulmulk claimed they were the founders of the district because Shangla had got the status of the district after his father martyred and was the than MPA elect from Shangla.
He claimed they had added 30,000 more beneficiaries in the BISP program for the stipends and his elders had established colleges, schools in the district too.
All the politicians except ANP’s candidate, Mutawkil Khan manifesto seemed similar as they said that they would work for the education, jobs opportunities, roads construction and boosting tourism.
Replying to questions, PML-N former MPA, Muhammad Rashad Khan said it was true he and his family ruled as MPA for 15 years but he always remained on the opposition benches and did not get appropriate funds government lawmakers received.
He said from federal funds their party had constructed grid stations and enlightened top mountains of the district with electricity and constructed roads. Anp senior leader and candidate for PK-28, Mutawakil Khan said they never been in the ruling, however his party did well during its government in KP in terms of record setting up universities and colleges.
He said ANP had planned if win next elections would establish 60 more colleges across the province also hospitals and scholarships will be provided to both male and male.