In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty
YARKHUN-The beautiful valley of Chitral
The sprouting springs,
The gushing streams;
The foaming and roaring rivers,
The lofty and mighty mountains;
The juicy, sweet apples,
The honey like mulberries;
The sweet odour of blossoming apricots,
The generous wild berries;
And the oily walnuts.
You will find all these gifts from April to
October, periodically, in the beautiful valley of Chitral, called
Yarkhun. Yarkhun stretches between Niwaishiru Sarooz, some 3-4 km
down the village Brep, and Lashkar Gaaz of Boroghel. The population
of Yarkhun is around 30,000 and its total length is approximately
150 km. Its boundaries touch Afghanistan on its North-West and
Gilgit-Baltistan on its South-East. The historical passes of Thuyi
and Dahkot connect it with Gilgit-Baltistan, while Kankhon, Darwaza
and Boroghal Passes on its North-West connect it with Northern
Strategically Yarkhun has been very important in
the past centuries. Before 1920, it had served the Eastern Turks,
Kazakhs, Kirghizs and Tajaks as a peaceful route for trade and
pilgrimage and was a huge help in the economic well being of the
area. Which is why, Yarkhun was one of the most affluent areas of
Chitral. After the closure of its communication with the
North-Eastern states ( Tajakistan, Kirghizistan, Qazakistan &
Kashghar) poverty haunted the area, drifting the inhabitants into
the pit of destitution.
Now in 21st century, there seems no improvement
in the economic condition of the Yarkhunittees. They are still
deprived of their basic needs due to neglect of our government. It
seems that the poor inhabitants of this beautiful valley are still
living in the Stone Age.
When we talk about the communication facilities
in the area, a 20-25 wide Kacha road up to Sholkoch was constructed
in 1992-93. The upper part of the valley called Soyarkhun is still
commuting through a deadly, narrow kacha road (that doesn’t even
deserve to be called as a jeep able road). The above mentioned road
did not see repair and maintenance till 2011, when Services & Works
Department of Chitral removed the debris stored by the floods and
land slides during the past 17 years. But the broken brace walls
still need rehabilitation.
The jeep able bridge at Khotan Lasht is
strategically very important because it connects Yarkhun valley
with Mastuj. But due to poor maintenance, it was destroyed in 2006,
cutting off the Yarkhunittes from the rest of Chitral for a period
of three years. After a continuous hue and cry, it was
reconstructed in 2009, but totally defective, because the rotten
beams and other woods of the old bridge were reused after reducing
their circumferences, making them more prone to wreckage, by
putting in the reason that the beams of the old bridge were heavy
and caused the destruction. What a ridiculous excuse, I must say.
Now, the old planks have been broken within one and a half year of
its reconstruction. Its beams are likely to give way (Go forbids)
if heavy load is ever crossed.
Apart from the above mentioned bridge, there are
only two other jeep able bridges in the valley, one at Yukum and
the other at Zhupu. As there are villages located on both sides of
the River Yarkhun, so the people living on one side of the river
face a huge difficulty in visiting their relatives, attending
schools & medical centers on the other side because the bridges
connecting the two sides are located at the two extreme parts of
the main valley.
And above all, the population of 30,000 souls
has no telephone & internet facility in this modern age.
As far as the educational facilities in the area is concerned, our
government can claim for a few primary schools, two high schools
(with co-education), two middle schools for girls and three middle
schools for boys. The institutions being understaffed are producing
students, just literates. There is no higher secondary
school/college in the area and the students either have to
discontinue their education after their matriculation or they have
to attend the private colleges, further increasing the financial
burden on their poor parents.
When you ask for a medical facility, there is
one dispensary at Meragram and there is a basic health unit (BHU)
at Brep, where no MBBS doctor ever exists. People are dying of
minor and easily treatable illnesses i.e pneumonia, in this
medically developed era.
When a visitor enters the valley, it seems very
developed having high schools for girls, basic health units and
small hydro power stations in the villages. There is an 800 kV mini
hydro-electric project under way at village Pawur, partly sponsored
by the Swiss Government and supervised by the AKRSP, Chitral. When
it is completed it will surely change the over all condition of the
people. The whole credit for all these facilities goes to the AKDN.
And, Yarkhunittees are still awaiting the attention of the
Dr. ZUBEDA SIRANG,