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ISLAMABAD: Ahead of local government elections in 42 Cantonment Boards (CBs) across the country scheduled for September 12 this year, ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has come down hard on CB administration in Abbottabad that is facing scathing criticism from across the political divide for failure to provide support to the public against widespread destruction caused by heavy downpour. The CB Abbottabad officials have taken the stance that they were ‘busy’ in preparation of LG elections and, could not, therefore, provide timely assistance in support of the people against heavy flooding.

However, the provincial government officials have rejected this explanation and indicated that they would take up the matter with Military Lands and Cantonments Department (ML&C) Department.

Speaking to Business Recorder, Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani said, the officials of CB Abbottabad and district administration showed the “highest order of negligence” over recent flooding episode in Abbottabad.

“Cantonment Board Abbottabad is one of the most important CBs of the country. Needless to add Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) and many important strategic establishments are located in the territorial limits of CB Abbottabad. Showing the kind of negligence that it showed during recent rains is unpardonable,” he said.

“Hundreds were displaced and had to relocate on their own to safer locations due to heavy downpour earlier this week but there was absolutely no support from CB Abbottabad administration. The areas located within the territorial limits of the CB were inundated with water— people were desperately calling for help —but CB officials neither attended any calls nor paid any heed to the plight of the people,” he said.

A visibly angry Speaker KP Assembly, elected from Abbottabad said, “People are cursing and abusing us for negligence that was shown by CB officials. I ask the CB officials to put their house in order. Our children spent not less than three nights out of their homes. Hundreds of residences are either completely or partially damaged but there has been no help from CB Abbottabad,” he stated, adding that government was devising a mechanism for compensation to the Abbottabad rain-affectees.

“We will take up this matter with ML&C officials. We will also bring it into the notice of Prime Minister Imran Khan. People living in the territorial limits of CBs pay heavy taxes each year. What good are these CBs for if they cannot protect the lives and properties of their residents?” Ghani asked, adding that action would also be taken against senior officials of district administration in Abbottabad if found guilty of negligence.

Heavy downpour in Abbottabad on the night falling between 11 and 12 July wreaked havoc in the garrison city. Hundreds of residents living in Bilal Town, Hassan Town and other areas located alongside Mansehra Road and Murree Road saw their homes inundated with flood waters. Reports indicate that floodwater recorded eight to 10 feet above ground level and entered houses, offices and hospitals causing widespread destruction.

Business Recorder tried to contact CB Abbottabad’s station commander and cantonment executive officer but they were not available to comment on the matter till the filing of this report.

Earlier on Wednesday, residents of Abbottabad staged a massive protest against CB and district administration and blocked the main road for over three hours. Speaker KP Assembly also chaired a meeting on Wednesday in which he strongly reprimanded CB and district administration officials.

Three CBs are located in district Abbottabad; Havelian, Abbottabad and Kalabagh.

Last Friday, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued the schedule for LG elections in 219 wards of 42 CBs across the country, to be held on September 12, this year; 20 are located in Punjab that have 119 wards, 11 in KP having 37 wards, eight in Sindh having 54 wards and three in Balochistan having nine wards. The 42 CBs are: Rawalpindi, Taxila, Wah, Attock, Kamra, Sanjwal, Mangla, Murree Hills, Jhelum, Kharian, Lahore, Walton, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Shorkot, Sargodha, Okara, Multan, Bhawalpur, Quetta, Zhob, Loralai, Peshawar, Nowshera, Risalpur, Cherat, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Murree Gallis (separate from Murree Hills), Havelian, Abbottabad, Kalabagh, Hyderabad,

Pannu Aqil, Faisal, Malir, Korangi, Manora, Clifton and Karachi.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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