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    CREATION OF NEW DISTRICTS (UPPER AND LOWER CHITRAL) -REPRESENTATIONS ……Open Letter to DC Lower Chitral ……………….. Barrister Fahad Sultan

     

     

     Mr. Khurshid AlamMahsud

    Deputy Commissioner,

    Lower Chitral

    Dated: 3rd May 2019

     

     

    SUBJECT: CREATION OF NEW DISTRICTS (UPPER AND LOWER CHITRAL) -REPRESENTATIONS

     

    Dear Sir,

     

    With reference to the Notifications No.Rev: VI/Creation of new District Upper Chitral/ 37358 and the subsequent ADDENDUMNo.Rev: VI/Creation of a new District Upper Chitral/ 39257, Iwould like to address you as under:

     

    FACTS:

     

    1. That via West Pakistan Regulation No.1 of 1969 (Dir, Chitral and Swat Administration Regulation 1969), the Martial Law Administrator Zone A, exercising the powers of the Governors of West Pakistan, with the approval of the President, assigned the powers of the Mehtar of Chitral to such officer/person or authority as the Provincial Government may appoint or empower in this behalf. Consequently, Chitral became a District containing the Areas falling in the former State of Chitral.The District of Chitral contained 24 (Twenty-Four) Union Councils starting from the border areas of Arandu, at the South, upto the border areas of Boroghil, in the North.

     

    1. That the KPK Government, in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 5 and 6 of the Land Revenue Act 1967, created a new district with the name of ‘Upper Chitral’ through Notification Rev: VI/Creation of new District Upper Chitral/ 37358 (Hereinafter referred to as ‘Notification 1’) dated 20.11.2018. The new district contains10 (Ten) Union Councils, which were previously under the control of the Administrative Subdivision,Mastuj.

     

    1. That subsequently an addendum to this notification was issued vide Rev: VI/Creation of a new District Upper Chitral/ 39257 (Hereinafter referred to as ‘Notification 2’), Dated 12.12.2018 wherein it was stated:

    ‘The Provincial Government is pleased to bifurcate the District Chitral of the province into two Districts:  

    1. District Lower Chitral .
    2. District Upper Chitral.’

     

    ISSUES:

     

    That after examining the Notifications and subsequent administrative changes stated above, the following issues are highlighted for your perusal:

     

    1. That both the notifications failed to mention/address the Regulationof 1969 and the subsequent Notification, whereby the District of Chitral was created and the territorial limits were defined. In the absence of such a distinction, it is unclear as to whether the Notification of 1969 and its defined territorial limits are still operative or not. These new Notifications suffer from ambiguity which give it little operational value because of its Unclear and Vague contents.

     

    1. That, amongst other ambiguities, one notable irregularity is the fact that Notification 1states the use of the ‘Land Revenue Act, 1967’ whereas the KPK Government can only exercise such powers under the ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Land Revenue Act 1967’.Hence,suffering from procedural irregularities, making it illegal and void ab initio.

     

    1. That Notification 1 specifies 10 Union Councils which are to be under the administrative control of ‘Upper Chitral’. However, nothing has been mentioned with regards to the other 14 Union Councils.Notification 2, on the other hand, highlights the creation of ‘District Lower Chitral’ but fails to mention whether the other 14 Union Councils will become a part of it or not. Moreover, as mentioned in Issue No.1, in the absence of any clarity with regards to the operation of the Notification of 1969, there is confusion as to whether the territorial limits of District Chitral are still operative. Hence, prima facie, there are Procedural Irregularities, giving legal grounds for a Judicial Review under Article 199 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973

     

    1. That, amidst the talks of bifurcation of Chitral, the prospects of ‘District Upper Chitral’ were welcomed by the indigenous people of Chitral. However, Notification 2, without prejudice to the contents of Issue No.3 above, also mentions the creation of ‘District Lower Chitral’ which is not in line with the wishes of the people of Chitral who are proud of their heritage and culture. Their feelings are hurt by the subsequent change of their beloved name ‘Chital’. Article 28 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,1973is applicable in the current case. It states:

     

    “28. Preservation of language, script and culture: – Subject to Article 251, any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture shall have the right to preserve and promote the same.’

     

    The bifurcation was welcomed by the people of Chitral because of the ease it will create in its administration. However, it is suggested that the name of Chitral should be preserved instead of naming it “District Lower Chitral”. The balance of convenience also favours this notion as the fact that retaining the name of ‘District Chitral’ will keep the people of Chitral satisfied and at the same time, it will have the same effect on the governance of the region as there will be two districts, namely, “District Chitral” and “District Upper Chitral”

     

    1. The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in HR Cases No. 8340, 9504-G, 13936-G, 13635-P & 14306-G to 14309-G of 2009 Dated 28-04-2010 has held:

     

    “It is a settled principle of law that object of good governance cannot be achieved by exercising discretionary powers unreasonably or arbitrarily and without application of mind, but objective can be achieved by following the rules of justness, fairness and openness in consonance with the command of the constitution enshrined in different articles including Article 4 and 25

     

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    Considering the issues highlighted above, and to avoid imminent court litigations, you are kindly requested to represent the sentiments and plead the case of the indigenous people of Chitral to the concerned higher authorities for the following:

     

    1.     Remove the Procedural Irregularities, Illegalities and Unreasonableness in Notifications 1 and 2.

     

    1.        Retention of the name ‘District Chitral’ instead of ‘District Lower Chitral’

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yours faithfully

    for SULTAN&SULTAN

    Fahad Sultan  Barrister at Law

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