An eyewitness account of far-flung villages in Lakki Marwat

Barkatullah Marwat

PESHAWAR: The politicians, who get elected from a national and three provincial constituencies of Lakki Marwat, always make tall and hollow claims of bringing revolutionary change to the lives of the people. Ironically, their claims have so far miserably failed to bring any change and evaporated in the air.

Recently, I visited the far-flung villages in Lakki Marwat district to observe closely the life of the people living there. So I preferred to take the route leading from Michenkhel that finally joins the Indus Highway at Shahbazkhel village as on this road I wanted to see people of other villages, such as, Shahabkhel, Nawarkhel, Begukhel, Isakkhel, Ahmedkhel, Shah Hassankhel, Abdulkhel, Jhangkhel, Chowarkhel, Hayatkhel, Azerkhel and Shahbazkhel.

Hence I set on my short journey and took a first stop at Shah Hassankhel village and parked the car near the main entrance to the government high school built on the roadside.

After being informed by the watchman, the headmaster came out and took me into his office and then around the school building which was newly constructed and functionalized.

A saying goes, “A man can tell a lie but circumstances cannot.” Well, I realised that the contractor who constructed the building clearly reflected his involvement in corruption, besides the officials of the Communication and Works Department (C&W) also seemed in the glove with him.

The materials used in the school building were substandard but it was the responsibility of the officials of Education Department to take over the school after properly clearance by the C&W Department. But it was evident that the officials of the Education Department had also taken a dive in the ‘Ganga Jamna’.

After inspecting the school building, I left for Abdulkhel village which was located adjacent to Shah Hassankhel.

On reaching Abdulkhel village, I parked the car on roadside and I saw a few youth playing cards under the shade of a tree. After letting them know the purpose of my visit to their village, they expressed willingness to cooperate with me.

They took me around to some of their hujras (guest-houses) where I was really astonished to see the underground water tanks being used by the villagers for storage of rain water. Just imagine there was neither a tubewell for drinking purpose, nor even a hand-pump in the entire village.

Muhammad Hayat, a college student, said, “We usually fetch water from a neighbouring village, Jangkhel, through water tanker which usually cost us at Rs2000 to 3000.” He added that such water was not only used by the people but also by their cattle. Some frogs and other insects were seen swimming and floating on the surface of the water as a window-shaped small door to the tank was opened.

The colour of the water had turned green due to presence of algae which posed no threat to life while blue-green algae is said to have the potential to generate toxins.

Next what I heard was unbelievable when another villager, Muhammad Ali, who was a farmer, said, “Owing to use of the tank water the ratio of cancer is gradually and slowly rising in our village.” He added that the officials of the Health Department and district administration were paying no attention to the chronic issue.

I noticed new poles installed by the then MPA Malik Noor Salim affiliated with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) through his fund to electrify the village but was not yet wired while the old power supply line was hijacked through illegal connections (loops) and that’s why the officials of the PESCO used to carry out excessive load-shedding in the area.  

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