Nuristanis seek new govt’s attention
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Residents and officials of eastern Nuristan province have urged the incoming government to pay the province special attention because it had been ignored in the past.
Abu Bakar, a resident of Paroon, the provincial capital, said Nuristan was a mountainous region, where most dwellers were associated with the livestock business.
He said Nuristanis had no option but to raise household animals for profit and suggested that mining projects could also help generate jobs for the locals.
He said a majority of Nuristan dwellers were poor and reconstruction projects would offer them job opportunities.
A resident the Kamdesh district, Sultan Mir, said he had many expectations from the new president, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and his government, urging him to meet some of their demands, if not all.
He said most youth in Nuristan were jobless and less educated because of the poor education system, which needed attention.
“First of all, the ground should be paved for projects and then launched, otherwise, we would continue to live in the dark,” he said.
Another resident of Paroon, Abdul Karim, said the snow-bound roads in Nuristan remained closed every winter, when residents faced numerous problems.
He said road blockades in winter caused shortages of food and other essential daily-use items and sent their prices soaring.
Karim recalled the Nuristanis had gone to the elections under tough conditions to elect their future president, who should now pay greater attention to the most backward province. He said the central government should adopt measure to facilitate residents ahead of the advent of winter.
A Waigal district resident Khair Rahman said not a single project had been executed so far in the district, where government and Taliban did not appear for two years.
“If government officials had been visiting us, they would have initiated some projects, but nothing had been done,” he said, urging the new government to launch development projects in Waigal district in order to muster support of the local population.
A Paroon resident, Maulvi Khudaidad, said only a few development works had been completed in Nuristan, rendering it the most backward region.
“We direly need roads while not a single metre of road has been blacktopped in Nuristan, where every sphere of life has been ignored.”
Governor Hafiz Abdul Qayyum acknowledged that Nuristan was the most backward province as compared to other provinces. He said there were no hospitals where even simple surgeries could be performed.
He said Nuristan was a province full of problems and troubles and if the new government also ignored it, the problems would multiply.
“There are no roads and hospitals and the education system has been in a dilapidated condition and security the worst,” the governor said.
Qayyum said the new government was expected to launch development projects in Nuristan, deploy local police and give special attention to the education sector.
“If the health sector is given attention and people are provided with jobs and all districts connected through roads, the problems can end.”
Former provincial council member Amanullah Inayat Rehman said the new government should not subject Nuristan to the step-motherly treatment like the previous governments because its residents wanted their rights to be served.
“How long the people of Nuristan will live in abject poverty and how long they will depend on sheep and goats,” asked the public representative.
He said the new government should stop treating provinces in line with their grades, but should implement uniform development.
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