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January 26, 2020

A welcome change in Pindi


January 26, 2020

After a tumultuous year, Rawalpindi has finally got a new deputy commissioner, Captain (r) Anwarul Haq.

The garrison city has seen about four deputy commissioners coming and going in less than two years. The politics of this inconsistency has grabbed limelight of late. A land dispute between two political heavyweights, it is believed, has led to removal of the outgoing DC Saifullah Dogar.

His predecessors have also seen very short spells and no notable political interventions have been cause of their removals.

New postings and transfers are part of public servants’ life but these are tenured posts and an officer is deemed to complete his tenure.

That said, tenure should and must not be valued more than service delivery. In the recent past, Rawalpindi has become a mess. Land disputes and family feuds have turned bloody, resulting into deaths and law and order situations.

A minor movement on part of politically exposed personalities comes under media magnifier but big land frauds by apolitical mafias go unreported. This is the truth of Rawalpindi, the land of political bigwigs.

Almost all MNAs of this division are ministers. No government can afford to ignore them for multiple reasons.

But they do not define Rawalpindi. It is a city of big biradaris that are pitched against one another and outsiders who outnumber them at many instances. The new Deputy Commissioner Captain (r) Anwarul Haq may well keep the demography of the city in considerations while making any decisions.

The city has a prime place in history, modern and ancient. It is teeming with historical monuments that are chipping away for decades of neglect. This is our national heritage. Successive district administrations have conveniently ignored this heritage.

Their focus of attention remained Murree where they worked day and night to make movement and stay of influential people as comfortable as possible. Other parts of the district have suffered badly from this unequal distribution of resources.

Now is the time the district administration should pay attention to the neglected areas, which looks like medieval structures.

This is a city of 2.098 million people, according to the latest census. Clean drinking water and air are their basic needs but they are denied these. Rawalpindi is a hub to air- and water-borne diseases. It is not a hidden fact that unmaintained sewers have dripped poisons into ground water and people consume it.

Enough reports have been published on pollution of rain drains in this district due to excessive construction activity. Attention is needed to be paid to this very problem.

It is encouraging to read that the first meeting that the new DC has chaired aimed to control dengue, which remained the worst killer last year while the district administrators were engaged in political battles.

Time was when a political veteran from Chakri would decide who will be the DC in Rawalpindi. But time has changed. We in this space welcome Captain (r) Anwarul Haq as the new DC and hope that he will get down to resolve problems of the people.