Plight of Rabwah (2008 – 2010)

2010

 

Provocation in the name of religion

The Ahmadiyya central office in Rabwah issued a circular for urging the authorities to stop the gatherings and processions led by mullas in Rabwah in which they routinely use abusive language against elders of the Ahmadiyya community and disturb the law and order. This letter was written in February 2010. The translation of the letter is given below.

Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Pakistan)

Ph: 047-6212459                      Fax 047-6215459                   E-mail: nuasaa@hotmail.com

 

Sir,

I hope that you are well.

I draw your attention to an important and sensitive matter.

A program of processions and conferences was announced on 27 February 2010 regarding 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal (birthday of the Holy Prophetsa) in Chenab Nagar, Rabwah, according to press reports. The population of Chenab Nagar is 95% Ahmadi. They are denied the right to hold annual conferences, training and educational workshops. Conversely, hostile groups are left unrestricted to take out processions and hold conferences in Rabwah. They come from outside, indulge in provocative actions, use obnoxious language against leaders of the community and disturb the peace of the town.

Processions and conferences have been announced here again on the sacred occasion of 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal. Official records bear witness that abusive language is used against the Ahmadiyya community instead of portraying the benevolent personality of the Holy Prophetsa. This does great harm to the peaceful atmosphere of the city. Residential streets and main roads are used for these processions. Provocative speeches and gestures are made near Ahmadiyya places of worship. Disrespect is shown to women, and slogans are raised on loudspeakers to instigate sectarian hatred.

Several applications have been made in the past few years to restrict these activities, but unfortunately no positive response has been forthcoming.

I hope you will take appropriate steps to maintain law and order in the city, in view of the present sensitive situation in the country.

This matter deserves your immediate attention.

Sincerely,

Saleem ud Din

Director of Public Affairs

Rabwah (Chenab Nagar) District Jhang

Regrettably mullas were still allowed to converge on Rabwah. They indulged in hateful activities, and hurt the feelings of local Ahmadis deliberately, under the protection of the police and the administration.

 

Report of processions held on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal in Rabwah

Rabwah: The Ahmadiyya central office in Rabwah issued a circular for urging the authorities to stop the gatherings and processions led by mullas in Rabwah in which they routinely use abusive language against elders of the Ahmadiyya community and create a law and order problem. Authorities took little notice of this letter, and the mullas were given free hand to provoke the Ahmadis of Rabwah and take out a number of processions in the town.

The events scheduled for 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal began on February 26, 2010 after the Friday prayer. Mulla Ataul Muhaiman Bukhari of Multan held a conference in Kot Wasawa. Five clerics, including Ghulam Fareed Paracha Deputy Secretary JI and mulla Mugaira of Rabwah made anti-Ahmadiyya speeches. The attendance was approximately 350.

The second session started at 9 p.m. Mulla Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi arrived in a procession of 6 buses, 40 motorcycles and an open-top vehicle carrying armed men. This mulla is a leader of a banned organization but is free to carry on his mischief. They reached Kot Wasawa through the main roads of Rabwah waving their weapons. The attendance at this session was approximately 1000. Six mullas addressed the audience.

The third session continued till noon the next day. They took out a procession at 3:30 p.m.

On 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal the first procession was taken out by mulla Allah Yar Arshad at 9:50 a.m. from Masjid Bukhari. It arrived at Aqsa Square via the Bus Stop and Aqsa Road (the main road of Rabwah). Mulla Muhammad Yamin Gohar spoke to the participants. Then the crowd went back to the Bus Stop. They halted in front of the Ewan-e-Mahmood (Ahmadiyya Youth Central Office) and post office and used abusive language against Ahmadis. They demanded a ban on the daily Alfazl. This procession ended at the Bus Stop at 12:20 p.m.

Another procession was launched by Maulvi Shahid, son of Maulvi Mushtaq from nearby Khichian. This procession went to the Bus Stop through Aqsa Square. Approximately 400 people formed this procession. It dispersed at 1:00 p.m. They did not use abusive language.

The third procession was led by the Ahrar from Kot Wasawa. It used the main roads of the city including College Road, Aqsa Road and stopped at Aqsa Square. A speech was made there. In front of the Ewan-e-Mahmood speakers including Ataul Muhaiman Bukhari used foul language against the Ahmadiyya community. This went on till 5:30 p.m. The procession ended at the Bus Stop. There were 3500 – 4000 people in the procession. A group among them threw stones on the gate of the Ahmadiyya graveyard. The police intervened and stopped them. Some mullas also urinated on the graves of Ahmadis in the public cemetery.

The Ahmadiyya community remained alert at all times against any eventuality. All shops and markets remained closed for almost two days. The Ahmadiyya youth acted as models of self-discipline in the face of provocation in their home town.

 

Mullas create tension in Rabwah through a non-issue

Rabwah; December 29, 2010: A few policemen accompanied by some mullas came over to the main Ahmadiyya mosque in Rabwah before sunset and wanted entry to the compound to inspect if minarets were being built. This mosque, in fact, already has minarets, and there is no need to build new ones. The Ahmadis on guard duty told the police that as the mullas were in their company, they would allow none to enter the mosque.

In the mean time the local SHO also arrived at the scene, so did some other people including personnel of the security and intelligence departments. Considering the gravity of the situation and the mullas’ threat of a countrywide agitation two days later on 31 December in support of the Blasphemy law, senior Ahmadi community officials arrived at the scene. Finding the mullas there, including Shabbir Usmani, a senior cleric, Ahmadi officials told the police that they would not allow mullas to enter the compound. The SHO then proposed that he would take along no mulla inside the mosque.

Accordingly the SHO went inside. He saw that no new minarets were under construction; only some repairs were underway to the old ones. He reported the same to his superiors and to the mullas. Apparently, they were satisfied, and dispersed. The DPO was further briefed by the Ahmadi seniors. However, when the mulla is bent upon mischief and the administration acts timid, no one can be sure of peace and harmony.

 

Stone blasting in the residential area of Rabwah

Rabwah: Stone blasting in Rabwah’s hills is a problem that refuses to go away – thanks to the stone-mafia and corrupt bureaucracy. A report published in the daily Ausaf of March 12, 2010 is translated below:

  • Illegal blasting in Karana Hills endangers human lives. Several wayfarers have been killed. Citizens and factory workers have been seriously injured.
  • Stones fly faraway to the residential area on both sides of the hill due to heavy explosions that hit rice mills, houses and traffic.
  • Citizens and factory workers have been seriously injured, several wayfarers have been killed. DCO ordered registration of a case against the contractor, but no action has been taken yet.

Chenab Nagar (Staff Reporter): Influential contractor of minerals carries out stone blasting in Karana Hills from Choongi No. 3 to the bridge of Chenab Nagar Unit 10 at night despite the imposition of PPC 144. Many stones have hit residential area on both sides, houses in Darul Fazal, Shahab Rice Mills, other houses and traffic on the Sargodha Road due to heavy detonations which has resulted in the death of several wayfarers and serious injuries to local citizens living in houses and the factory. It is worth noting that many delegations of local social groups and elders have failed to persuade the stubborn contractor to stop such illegal blasting in view of such casualties and dangers. A delegation comprising elders and victims of such casualties visited the DCO Chiniot and presented him with a written application. DCO told SHO Chenab Nagar to register a case against the contractor but no action has yet been taken in this regard. The lives of people living on both sides of the hills are at constant risk. They demanded that the higher authorities of the mineral department cancel the lease (of stone-blasting).

 

Loot in the name of government

The daily Din of Lahore; April 9, 2010 published a report regarding the extortion campaign by the Excise Inspector Chenab Nagar (Rabwah). Its translation is produced below:

Private men of the excise inspector take money by deceit in the name of property tax

Iftikhar Gujjar has employed five men who fraudulently pocket money by showing fake Demand Notices, in different areas.

Chenab Nagar (Correspondent): Private men of the excise inspector have started extorting money from common people in the name of property tax. Citizens have protested strongly. As per available details, Iftikhar Gujjar, an excise inspector in Chenab Nagar, has employed Aslam, Basharat, Asif, Ansar and Zulfiquar privately for the collection of property tax. They go to different muhallas, blackmail and threaten the women and common folk through fake notices, and collect money. Citizens have strongly protested against it and said that the excise inspector is seemingly a partner in this loot. When the excise office Chiniot was contacted in this regard they denied any link with these men, and said that they are not employees of the office.

 

Deplorable state of sanitation in Rabwah

The daily Aman, Faisalabad; April 11, 2010 published a report about the poor state of sanitation in Rabwah. Its translation is given below:

Heaps of filth in Chenab Nagar. People suffer from various diseases.

Piles of filth and garbage are evidence of the Administrator’s performance, recently appointed after the Nazims

Citizens demand immediate attention of the CM Punjab, DCO and higher authorities

Chenab Nagar (Correspondent): Chenab Nagar has transformed into a depot of filth and a breeding ground of flies and mosquitoes. The officials have paid no heed to this situation for months. Heaps of filth in streets, muhallas and markets mock the administration of the Administrator who has been appointed recently in place of Nazims. The sanitary inspector, who was recruited by the previous Tehsil Nazim, never visited this town to see the state of poor sanitation. … Local political, social, welfare, business and religious leaders have requested immediate action from the DCO Chiniot against the incompetent sanitary inspector. They have urged the DCO to visit the town personally especially Rahmat Bazaar and Railway Road which are getting choked by encroachments as well.

 

Rabwah:    destruction of environment continues even at human cost

Rabwah; June 4, 2010: The daily Ausaf, Lahore of June 4, 2010 published the following report:

Chenab Nagar: Roof collapsed due to stone blasting on a hill; 13 years old girl severely injured

The contractor ignited large amount of explosives with a big bang near the populated neighborhood of Darul Yuman

Stones fell on the roof tops. Shumaila, asleep inside a room was severely injured. Locals protest.

Chenab Nagar (special correspondent):         A roof collapsed due to stone blasting on a hill near a populated area. It caused severe injury to a 13-year old girl. It is learnt that the contractor detonated a large quantity of explosives on the hill in Darul Yuman. As a result, stones fell on roof tops. Many houses suffered damage. A 15kg rock fell on the roof of a house and it collapsed. Consequently 13-years old Shumaila who was asleep inside the room got severely injured. The locals protested and demanded that action be taken against the contractor, and the populated area should be declared a ‘red zone area’.

 

An incident in Rabwah

Rabwah; July 2, 2010:            The authorities conveyed to Ahmadis that Rabwah could be a priority target of terrorists, so they should take appropriate and effective security measures. As such the residents are on high alert and have undertaken essential measures like raising outer walls and installing road barriers. However, as the Ahmadi public is not trained adequately in the art of defence, this poses a problem.

On July 2, 2010 a resident mulla accompanied by two others and a woman in a car, came across a road-block. He took offence at this, and was very harsh with the duty personnel. At this, a young man, fired at the car to show that he was serious about defense. No one was harmed, but the car was hit at the front. Two or three other youth on duty also fired in the air in sympathy. At this the police arrived.

The community officials took serious notice of this incident and relieved the young man and his superior from their duties.

The mullas made a great hue and cry over the incident. The police responded with their usual imbalance to the mullas’ protest and booked initially as many as 11 Ahmadis including the president of the Ahmadiyya community of Rabwah, who had been abroad for weeks on leave. He was abroad on the day of the incident.

The police registered the case under PPCs 109, 148/149, 324/427 at Police Station Chenab Nagar.

Mr. Ejaz Ahmad was arrested. Now he has to face prosecution in the courts for how long, nobody knows.

 

Threat to Rabwah

Rabwah; July 18, 2010: A note conveying serious threat was thrown inside an Ahmadiyya mosque in Darul Fadl, Rabwah. Translation:

“Islam – Zindabad (long live), Mirzai – Murdabad (may perish)

O Mirzais! Mend your ways and do not put our self-restraint to test. There is still time to embrace Islam. Do not go to your places of worship this Friday. You will not see your children and your place of worship again if you hold a Friday Prayer. Remember the Friday, otherwise …

That’s all

Servant of Khatme Nabuwwat Islam

Allah-o-Akbar (God is the greatest)”

Leaders of Khatme Nabuwwat faction claim to be religious and non-violent. This message, however, confirms that they promote violence and terror.

 

Rabwah suffers from poor sewage

The daily Lahore Post published a story on August 20, 2010 about the bad sewage system in Rabwah. Its translation is given below:

Bad system of sewage in Chenab Nagar; rain water stagnates in lower parts of the city.

Four feet of water in Muhallah Bashirabad after spell of current rains

Chenab Nagar (Special correspondent): The rain water of the eastern part of the city accumulated in the lower areas of Bashirabad due to poor sewage system in the city. Four feet of water stagnates in approaches to Bashirabad. Vehicles and motorcycles are nearly submerged and stalled. There is no alternate route to Bashirabad. Children, elders and women face great hardship in moving about. The official insensitivity is glaring. The Chenab Nagar municipality is not serious about attending to the civic problems even after collecting millions in revenue. No arrangements were made to drain the sewage even after the complaints. Mr. Abdur Razzaq Bhatti, a well-known social worker of Muhallah Bashirabad, stated that the youth had been working on self-help basis, and tried to drain out the stagnant water. The municipality did not bring over a turbine to drain out the water, even after numerous reminders. He said that it was essential to take immediate notice of this and find lasting solutions to problems of residents.

 

Severe environmental damage to Rabwah suburbs

Rabwah: Rabwah and its neighboring city Chiniot are located on the right and left bank of the river Chenab respectively. Anyone who crosses the river by road or train during the day will not miss the great beauty and majesty of the natural spectacle of the river and the range of great hills that are eons old. These hills have been under persistent attack by a mafia which has dynamited this heritage into near oblivion, with the connivance and support of some officials.

There is now some faint light at the end of this long tunnel. The daily Dawn published the following story on this topic, on August 5, 2010 referring to ‘Chiniot’ hills (no objection, so long as this heritage is saved):

Stone crushers eating up Chiniot hills

By Aurangzeb Malik

CHINIOT, Aug 4:         The government needs to take action to stop stone crushing machines eating up the ancient mountains along the River Chenab in Chiniot.

The chain of mountains is going to be diminished as mountain stones have been consumed unchecked for commercial purposes for the last many decades.

In 2007, a blast in such a mountain resulted in the appearance of a cave from a mountain. The cave, local residents say, had ancient stone statues and other items. Before archaeologists could study them, a big stone rolled down and capped the cave entrance.

In 2007, the Punjab Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Department declared these hills historical sites under the Special Premises under Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985.

A landlord, Col Asim Ali Shah (retired), offered his adjacent land to establish a museum and Archeological Department offices. Mines Department contractors, however, continue to crush stones.

Seeing inaction of the Punjab government, some residents wrote to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani seeking his help to stop contractors from crushing the stones.

The Prime Minister’s Secretariat issued a directive on May 9, 2010, to the culture division secretary with subject ‘Chiniot rock art at the mercy of stone crushers’ directing him to take necessary action to safeguard the visual heritage of the country. No action, however, has been taken.

Recently, the Lahore High Court, on a writ petition, stayed the stone crushing ordering the administration to ensure halt of blasting and preserve the cultural heritage.

Ahmad Ali, a resident of the mountainous range, said he had seen some statues inside the cave.

DCO Dr Irshad Ahmad says he had asked the police and revenue authorities to stop this stone crushing work.

 

Civic problems of Rabwah

Lahore: The daily Ausaf of Lahore in its issue of October 17, 2010 published an article “The problems of District Chiniot” written by Rana Abrar Hussain Chand. Although this daily attempts to take the lead in anti-Ahmadiyya propaganda, its correspondent could not ignore the plight of Rabwah in the said article. Excerpt:

“Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) which is located in this sub-division (of Lalian) is a well-known town all over the world, for being the center of Qadianis. Its state is close to that of ruins. No road in the town is in good shape; all of them are in a bad way. State owned educational institutions in the town, Government Nusrat Girls High School and Government Talimul Islam College are more like ruins. Their buildings have been declared dangerous. A major catastrophe can happen anytime, as the lives of thousands of students remain at risk in these institutions. The town has no sewage system whatsoever. There is no state-supported hospital. The mafia has occupied state land worth billions. … Likewise the precious railway land has been usurped … .”

Note:  The above is only a part statement on the plight of Rabwah’s civic situation.

 

Authorities informed

The authorities cannot complain that the Ahmadiyya central office does not keep them informed of the communal threats posed to the community by its opponents. As before, the community headquarters at Rabwah informed all concerned about an anti-Ahmadiyya sectarian conference planned to be held by the mulla, at Rabwah on September 7, 2010. The translation of the Circular is given below:

Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Pakistan)

Ph: 047-6212459                      Fax 047-6215459                   E-mail: nuasaa@hotmail.com

 

Sir,

 

I bring to your notice an important and sensitive issue. According to press reports, opponents of the Ahmadiyya community have announced that they are holding a Khatme Nabuwwat Conference in Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) on September 7, 2010.

Ahmadis, who comprise 95% of the population of Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) are not permitted to hold here their annual conference, public meetings and various other community functions. However, their opponent organizations are allowed a free hand to transport outsiders to Rabwah, take out processions, use loud-speakers in public, hurl insults against Ahmadi leaders, make foul gestures, provoke, insult and disturb the law and order of the town.

Once again, one such conference is announced for September 7. This time, it is scheduled in the sacred and blessed month of Ramadan. This conference is a threat to the law and order of the town. As ever, it is likely that members of banned organizations will come to Rabwah to participate. Here, they make sorties in groups, enter residential neighborhoods and make provocative visits to Ahmadiyya places of worship. There is a risk of some unpleasant incident in the town at this occasion.

Under these circumstances, it will be appropriate not to permit this conference, nor to extend it official sanction. In other circumstances, the participants should be directed to use only the main roads, not misbehave with women, not raise provocative slogans, desist from misuse of sound systems, and refrain from hateful sectarian speeches that incite violence.

In case there is an unpleasant development, the administration and participants will be responsible.

Last year too, you were requested action on these lines, however there was no positive response.

It is hoped that effective steps will be taken to ensure peace of this town.

It is a sensitive issue, and deserves immediate action.

 

Sincerely,

Saleem ud Din

Director of Public Affairs

Rabwah (Chenab Nagar) District Jhang

Dated: 31 August 2010

We regret to report that the conference was allowed and facilitated by the authorities.

 

Provocation

Rabwah; February 2010: Some mullas in a tractor-trolley passed by the Jamia Ahmadiyya (Junior Section). They abused the Ahmadiyya community, and threw stones which broke the window pane of the security room. The police were informed.

 

Oppression

Rabwah; July 27, 2010: Two Ahmadis own houses in eastern part of Rabwah, which the authorities have unlawfully designated as ‘Muslim Colony’. Ahmadis owners of property continue to face harassment from the mullas and officials in that area. Mr. Asad Shafiq and Munir Ahmad undertook repairs to their houses, and a mulla intervened. He reported to the police and demanded arrest. The police, without due inquiry detained them and charged them in separate cases. Both were later released on bail; but the prosecution goes on.

 

And a false case

Rabwah; January 25, 2010: There was an incident in a Rabwah neighbourhood involving an outsider which the community elders reported to the police. The police took notice, but as the accused was influential, the police booked a dozen Ahmadi community officials in a criminal case. Eventually the case was filed.

 

 

2009

No town water for residents of Rabwah

Rabwah: The daily Aman, Faisalabad of January 4, 2009 published a story on the plight of residents of Rabwah, and gave the following headlines.

  • The residents of Chenab Nagar are deprived of clean drinking water for the last one month.
  • People are wandering about carrying vessels in search of water.
  • Thirsty children recorded their protest in front of the office of the Chief Officer but he did not care. No plumber is appointed in Chenab Nagar.
  • TMA Chiniot has enrolled a plumber and half a dozen staff for water works in Chenab Nagar. The tube-well supervisors are also working in Chiniot instead of Chenab Nagar.
  • Substandard water pipes are now worn out, hundreds of millions (sic) of water is being wasted in the nearby fields, and the incompetent technical staff is unable to do repairs.

 

Stone blasting continues in the ‘Red Area’ of Rabwah hills

The daily Jang of  January 13, 2009 published the following report regarding the digging out of stone from the declared ‘Red Area’ of Chenab Nagar and the consequent plight of the people.

Chenab Nagar (Staff Reporter): Stone blasting continues even after the authorities have declared this area as the ‘Red Area’. Many houses in Muhallah Darul Yuman have been damaged as heavy flying stones struck them as a result of blasting. Walls of many houses collapsed and a number of people lost their lives. Many have been rendered disabled and many a mountain laborers have died. Despite all this, illegal blasting goes on blatantly. It is noteworthy that this digging of stones continues despite declaration of these hills as ‘Red Area’ by the Department of Minerals.

 

Corruption in the Town Council of Rabwah

Rabwah: The daily Ausaf of February 25, 2009 published a news item regarding the Rabwah town council which was sent in by its ‘Special Representative.’ Its English translation is produced below:

Chenab Nagar: The office of Town Council Chenab Nagar has become a centre of corruption. Fraud amounting to millions in official records.

Millions of rupees drawn fraudulently from the treasury cause heavy losses.

Employees have occupied residential plots worth billions.

They have filled their pockets in the name of taxes and ‘Plans Approval.’

Chenab Nagar (Special Reporter): The Town Council of Chenab Nagar has become a house of corruption; alleged fraud of billions of rupees disclosed. Ch. Ahmad Yousuf, well-known literary and social activist of the town claimed this in his letters sent to the Chief Minister, the Secretary Local Government, the Commissioner Faisalabad and the DCO Jhang Mr. Asad Islam Mahni. As per details, he disclosed, along with proofs, corruption amounting to millions of rupees in official records in collaboration with Azmat Qadeer Waiya of TMA Chiniot. He asserted that the employees of the 4th grade up to high ranks indulge in unrestricted loot of citizens. Consequently the treasury has suffered a loss of millions through official irregularities and rackets. Ch. Ahmad Yousuf exposed the bogus receipt books used in this fraud. Employees of the council have illegally occupied plots worth billions of rupees. Ninety percent of the commercial plots in Chenab Nagar have been converted from residential with collaboration of the Council officials and employees. The staff has filled their pockets by blackmailing the citizens in the name of ‘plans approval’ fees and other taxes. Ch. Ahmad Yousuf has demanded immediate action from the higher authorities.

 

Rabwah allowed to be targeted

Anti-Ahmadiyya gatherings were held and processions taken out in the garb of Eid Milad, 12 Rabiul Awwal with the permission of authorities on March 10, 2009. Three major processions were taken out. Mullas addressed the participants and used, as usual, the most foul language against the Ahmadiyya community and its leaders. They demanded that:

  1. Shariah penalty for Apostasy (death) should be enforced.
  2. Ahmadiyya periodicals should be banned.
  3. The Ahmadiyya TV channel MTA should be banned in Pakistan.
  4. Ahmadis should be removed from key posts.

(Note: Some years ago the Chief Minister of the Punjab, in reply to a question in the Provincial Assembly, said: “Only 12 Ahmadis were given appointments, as clerks and peons only, during 13 years period commencing from July 1977 to the end of November 1983.”)

  1. The dogma of End of Prophethood should be made a part of state school syllabus.
  2. Qadianis’ places of worship should be made to look different than mosques.
  3. The anti-Ahmadi Ordinance should be enforced with great vigilance.

The next day a van that was transporting 27 Rabwah girls from their colleges in Chiniot was attacked by a group of mullas near the Muslim Colony. They pelted stones and bricks at the van. The incident was reported to the police who took no action.

A few days earlier, on March 6, Ms. Amatul Bari from Germany visited the local grave yard, Bahishti Maqbarah for Divine supplication. While there, some religious lunatic targeted her with a brick from the boundary wall on the side of Masjid Bukhari where mulla Allah Yar Arshad has his office. The lady was injured. The incident was reported to the police who simply filed it. This is not the first occasion that the miscreants have attacked the graveyard and its visitors. When the source of mischief is so apparent, it is odd that the police should find it difficult to enforce law.

 

Rabwah is mentioned again in the press

The daily Jang, Lahore in its issue of March 23, 2009 entered the following report:

Most of Chenab Nagar remained sans water on the International Day of Water

Chenab Nagar: (Correspondent) The town council attributed it all to the electric load-shedding. The major project of supply of water to the needy is pending completion. This entire project was extended at a cost of millions; the concerned departments have kept the residents of Chenab Nagar deprived of water. In summer months, the need increases four fold, but for the last many years, residents here have to fret for drops of water. They either have to buy water (from private sources) or consume the brackish water.

 

Rabwah faces threat of terrorism

Rabwah: In the middle of April, Rabwah faced credible threat from terrorists, and the whole town was put on alert. Educational institutions were closed down and security was tightened in mosques etc. The daily Ausaf of April 14 reported this as below:

Chenab Nagar: Four suspected terrorists arrested. Man seeking an edict in favour of suicide attack escaped.

Four individuals posing as knife-sharpeners arrested following a report from citizens.

They carried thousands in cash, three SIMs each, cell-phones. They are residents of Butgram and can speak Pashto, Urdu and Punjabi. A young man entered the quarters of Maulana Allah Yar Arshad. He sought edict concerning blowing up Qadiani center….

The accused fled on arrival of the residents. City is gripped with fear and tension. Suicide attacks are not permissible in Islam – Maulana Allah Yar.

The community elders advised the residents to be vigilant against acts of terrorism. Friday congregational prayers since then are held in each residential area rather than in the central mosque.

Press report on very poor municipal services in Rabwah

The daily Ausaf, Lahore published the following story on Rabwah in its issue of May 31, 2009:

A report is sought over Ausaf report on the deplorable state of Chenab Nagar.

No drinking water, substandard sewage system, worn out roads, negligence of TMA.

Heaps of filth stink, and filth depots help in breeding poisonous mosquitoes, flies and other insects.

Chenab Nagar:  (Staff reporter) In a special letter, senior officials of the Punjab government have asked for a report from a local intelligence agency over a report in the daily Ausaf, Lahore regarding deplorable state of the Chenab Nagar town, and discriminatory behavior of the TMA Chiniot towards it. It is learnt through confidential sources that the news published in the said newspaper regarding the non-availability of water due to the incompetence of water-works officials, and the toils of citizens in searching for water is factual. Roads and streets are in poor condition and clearing of the sewage lines is unsatisfactory. Roads and streets have long since fallen into disrepair, and ditches abound due to the lack of repairs and negligence of the TMA. Heaps of filth in the city stink and reflect on the inefficiency of the sanitary inspector and his department. These filth depots are now perfect breeding grounds for poisonous mosquitoes, flies and other insects. In fact large amounts of money have been allocated by the District Council Jhang and Tehsil Council Chiniot for welfare projects and relief from the said sufferings of (Chenab Nagar) citizens who pay their taxes hundred percent. It is also noteworthy that Anwar Saeed TMO and a few of his close associates were transferred on charges of corruption spread over six years. Everyone praised the Chief Minister Punjab for this step. Only God knows why they have been reinstated again in the same posts. Public representatives and notable citizens have demanded immediate removal of Anwar Saeed TMO and his five ‘friends’.

 

Rabwah in the crosshair of terrorists

Multan; June 19, 2009: The daily Aman, Faisalabad published the following story on June 19, 2009:

Plan thwarted to bomb Qadianis’ place of worship in Chiniot, accused held

Hashim, one of the accused, has been arrested in Multan. He is allegedly a resident of Rahim Yar Khan.

The attackers planned to hit the place of worship with a truck loaded with explosives. Security tightened for places of worship of the minority community.

Multan/Islamabad (Bureau Report): National security agencies have arrested a man belonging to a banned organization, thus defusing a plan to destroy a place of worship of the minority community in Rabwah, in vicinity of Chiniot. According to security sources, a man named Hashim has been arrested in Multan. He is a resident of Rahim Yar Khan. The other suspect managed to escape. Law enforcement agencies are carrying out raids to arrest him. The sources have intimated that Hashim and his colleague had been carrying out reconnaissance of the minority’s place of worship for many days using a motor cycle for the purpose. According to their plan they were to ram the house of worship with a truck loaded with explosives to be obtained at Jhang. The sources told ‘On-line’ that the two young men belonged to a banned organization which is now divided in two groups. The mastermind of this organization is now in South Waziristan. The sources have conveyed that after aborting this plan the authorities have ordered stricter measures to further tighten the security of minorities’ places of worship, in particular churches, temples, gurudwaras.

 

The civic situation in Rabwah

Here is a report published in the daily Jang, September 14, 2009, (translation):

Some streets of Chenab Nagar are still Kachi (unmetalled).

The drinking water project is facing delays. Citizens have to do with insufficient supplies.

Illegal blasting of stones continues. Many incapacitated; numerous roofs collapsed.

Chenab Nagar (report: Rana Nadeem): The problems of Chenab Nagar, Sub Tehsil, on the western side of river Chenab, are alarming due to increase in population. These call for the attention of the authorities. The streets of Darul Aloom Gharbi which is near the degree college are still not paved and become water logged and boggy on rainy days. This breeds swarms of mosquitoes. The Chenab bridge, which cost millions to build, is dilapidated and is now at the mercy of contractors. The primary school in Darul Sadar is without a periphery wall, and its children sit in open air classrooms. The Degree College and Talim ul Islam High School are almost in ruins. The Public Health Department started a drinking water project, with a one year completion time. It cost fifty-four million rupees, but is still incomplete after a lapse of three years. The residents have to bring water from far-off places to drink.

The state of sanitation is very poor (in the town). There is a risk of spread of an epidemic on account of heaps of filth. The Sahiwal Road remains in poor state of repair due to political wrangling. The filtration plant suffers from lack of care. Green scum has stuck on the tiles of its walls. The damaged taps are permanently shut; no repairs are undertaken. The absence of street lights is resulting in increase in street crime at night. Young unqualified rickshaw drivers are responsible for many road accidents. They stop wherever they want, and cause havoc to traffic and pedestrians. Illegal encroachments have reached the railway track. The sewage system is nominal. Gutters and drain lines were constructed with help from the citizens. The council workers leave the filth by the side of the drain lines; it falls back into the drain and pollutes the streets and houses. Citizens have requested the DCO Chiniot to have some pity on these helpless citizens (of Rabwah), so that they may also avail the basic amenities of life.

 

Roads of Rabwah – in ruin

The daily Express, Faisalabad of October 25, 2009 filed the following story:

Roads of Chenab Nagar are in ruins; cause frequent accidents.

Not a penny has been spent on the construction and repair of roads for the last 15 years. People demand immediate notice.

Chenab Nagar (Express correspondent): Not a penny has been spent on the roads in Chenab Nagar during the last 15 years. As a result, all roads of the town are in ruins. The College Road, Aqsa Road, Rajeki Road, Ghordor Road, Basti Eesaiyan Road, Sahiwal Road and other roads have all become dilapidated. The main Aqsa Road of the town on which all governmental offices, banks and shopping centres are situated, likewise the College Road on which the boys’ college and high school are situated as also offices of eight major departments, are dotted with craters. Drivers trying to avoid them hit other vehicles. Several individuals have been hurt and have lost their limbs in such accidents. Hundreds of complaints have proved futile. The Human Rights Committee and other social organizations of the town have demanded the district administration to take immediate notice.

 

Neglect at the PTCL office – Rabwah

The daily Din, October 6, 2009 Lahore reported the following concerning the quality of service in Rabwah of the denationalized telephone company PTCL:

Chenab Nagar: Negligence of PTCL; customers face difficulties; strong protest from the people

There are 700 DSL connections in Chenab Nagar, but no operator is available to install and maintain them.

Chenab Nagar (correspondent): Customers of the broadband face tremendous difficulties due to the PTCL’s departmental carelessness. According to the details 700 DSL connections have been provided in Chenab Nagar but no operator is available to install and maintain them. 300 devices for new connections have been distributed, but many of them have not been installed yet. The customers are tired of repeated visits to the PTCL office. They are given the phone number of the Director Broadband and are told that the task is beyond their local capacity. Hakeem Munawar Ahmad, a customer said that he has developed blood pressure due to his repeated visits to that office. Students are also affected badly due to PTCL’s inefficiency. There is none to attend to the malfunctioning old connections as well. Customers of PTCL have demanded that higher officials appoint a DSL operator immediately to resolve the people’s problems.

 

Local government’s failure in Rabwah

The Daily Express, Faisalabad published the following story on November 4, 2009 highlighting the local government’s neglect of problems faced by citizens of Rabwah:

  • Excess of stray dogs in the streets of Chenab Nagar. A threat to citizens.
  • Small school-going children have stopped going to school due to fear of dogs. Several men visit hospital due to dog-bites.

Chenab Nagar (Special Correspondent): Packs of stray dogs in the streets of Chenab Nagar are posing a great threat to the public. Small school-going children have stopped going to schools on foot due to the fear of these dogs; this is a big problem for parents. Affected people blame the municipality for this problem. Repeated pleas to the municipality have proved futile. The hospital administration has confirmed more than a dozen cases of dog-bites recently. The post of chief officer has been lying vacant at the municipality for the last three months. His functions are performed by the sub-engineer or by the accountant on an ad-hoc basis. The affected people question how those who cannot perform even their own duties well, can undertake additional duties? The president of the Human Rights Committee of Chenab Nagar, Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan has demanded from the DCO Chiniot that a competent officer should be posted in the municipality of Chenab Nagar. At present solving the long-outstanding public problems is a far cry; none is at hand to pay heed to the day-to-day problems of the residents.

 

An aggressive incursion in Rabwah and its follow up

Rabwah: Two non-Ahmadi youth of the Muslim Colony (a colony established by authorities for non-Ahmadis on Rabwah land forcibly occupied by the government) were roaming around on a motor cycle near the Fazle Umar Hospital, Rabwah on August 7, 2009. An Ahmadi youth on duty at the location noted down the registration number of their vehicle. They took exception to this and were rough with him. They also called their friends on their mobile phone to come to where they were. One of them slapped an Ahmadi on his face; this resulted in a brawl. By this time some senior Ahmadis arrived and disengaged the two parties. The intruders misbehaved with them too.

The police came to know of this and sent for the two parties in the evening. Ahmadis presented themselves while the others did not turn up. At about 1:30 a.m. the police registered a case against 7 named and 3 unknown Ahmadis with FIR 364/09 under various sections of the PPC. The next day Ahmadi community officials complained to higher police officials who promised to look into the case. The FIR has since remained open, however.

The trouble-makers belong to the Niazi family of the Muslim Colony. On November 22 two of them came to the bazaar in Rabwah and insulted Mr.  Abdus Samad, one of the Ahmadis accused in the FIR. Again they initiated a fight in which Mr. Muhammad Azam, an Ahmadi was hurt. A report was made to the police along with his medical certificate. The intruders fabricated a story and made their own report to the police.

There is a growing concern about such people coming over to Rabwah and fomenting trouble and disturbing the peace. They could be used as tools for some major incident by the crafty mullas of the Muslim Colony and other resident mullas whose main occupation is to create problems for the Ahmadi residents of this town.

 

 

2008

The entire population of Rabwah booked under Ahmadi-specific law

History repeats itself after 19 years

Rabwah, June 7, 2008: On December 15, 1989 the authorities charged the entire population of Rabwah in FIR No. 367/89 at Rabwah Police Station under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C. Now, almost 19 years later, they have done it again, not having learnt the lessons of history.

This time, FIR No. 254/08 was registered on June 8, 2008 at the Chenab Nagar Police Station under sections PPC 298-C, 285 and 337H2. Again, the complainant is not a mulla, but the authorities themselves. The FIR accuses ‘residents of all neighborhoods of Chenab Nagar town’ of celebrating their Khilafat Jubilee by lighting up earthen lamps and putting up paper decorations etc. It mentions community officials as organizing the celebrations, and the assumption that these actions have hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims of Chenab Nagar and its suburbs. It records that the town limits of Chenab Nagar are the location where the crime was committed. Obviously, the entire population of Rabwah is accused. The FIR claims that prima facie Sections PPC 298-C, 285 and 337 H2 have been violated.

The FIR enables the authorities to arrest any Ahmadi resident of Rabwah, including the community leaders, at any time. At the time, Mr. Muhammad Younus was arrested. The applied sections of the PPC expose all the accused to 3 years’ imprisonment. Mr. Younus  remained incarcerated for a month before he was released on bail.

The wording of the confidential (khufya) report betrays that it has been carefully and deliberately drafted by some senior official and not by a head constable as indicated. The fact that it was registered more than a week after the occurrence also supports this view.

A copy of the recent FIR and its English translation can be read.

 

From the daily Jang, Lahore of January 16, 2008

Chenab Nagar: Heaps of garbage, broken roads and unauthorized stalls turn life miserable. Great risk of epidemic due to rainwater pools and heaps of rubbish.

Inattention to the Sub-Tehsil would make the busy bazaar and the Aqsa Square extremely congested. Improvement demanded.

CHENAB NAGAR (correspondent) On account of inattention of the TMA Chiniot, citizens of Chenab Nagar have ended up with a problem-ridden town burdened under filth heaps all over, broken roads and encroachments. Roads have deteriorated everywhere due to inattention of Chiniot Tehsil Municipal Administration. A little rain results in innumerable puddles of dirty water. There is risk of killer epidemic spreading due to these stagnated pools and heaps of garbage. The other problem at Chenab Nagar is that of unauthorized encroachments (Tajawuzat) tolerated by the Town Council Chenab Nagar and TMA Chiniot. These cause congestions in the bazaars and streets. Vendors pose as owners of these spaces. If the Sub-Tehsil Chenab Nagar continues to face neglect, the busy bazaar, Aqsa Square and the Railway Road will all become narrow and impassable alleys. According to Fazal Ahmad Fani, this situation will lead the wide bazaar to become a Rehri bazaar. High officials are request to take immediate notice.

 

From the daily Aaj Kal Lahore of February 17, 2008:

Encroachment mafia’s hold on the Chenab Nagar bus stand

The bus stand that serves this town of 70,000 has neither washroom nor a place to sit down. The administration should cater for the citizens who pay millions in taxes. Press conference by Khalid Hussain

CHENAB NAGAR:     Qabza mafia is well entrenched at the Chenab Nagar bus stand due to the neglect and lethargy of TMA Chiniot. This bus stand that caters to the needs of this town of 70,000 residents has neither washroom nor a seating facility for passengers. The citizens are getting worse treatment than that from a step-mother.

In collusion with council officials, vendors have occupied the bus stand that is meant for passengers and buses and wagons. It is a pity that the administration has not bothered to break the hold of encroachers. The officials come to the office only for gossip. Citizens are in distress while the officials only placate the mafia. “If it rains a little the bus stand looks more like the river Chenab,” Rai Khalid Hussain Bhatti told the press conference.

The residents have made a strong plea to the Tehsil Nazim that a waiting room and washroom facility should be immediately provided and the mafia should be dislodged. The roadside pits at the bus stand ought to be filled up as the pits end up as puddles, and almost every day some passenger slips into one.

 

From the daily Jang, Lahore of March 19, 2008

Residents of Chenab Nagar are deprived of even drops of water due to main line closure (boond boond ko taras gai)

CHENAB NAGAR (correspondent)    Residents are deprived of even drops of water due to the drying up of the water supply. The garbage removal staff has also disappeared. Garbage heaps pile up all over; this portends epidemics. As per details, the water supply has been interrupted in the face of the approaching summer heat, thus causing great deprivation to the residents. Offices are obliged now to buy water (from somewhere). The telephone exchange staff moves from door to door in search of water. Moreover, garbage has piled up all over but due to the absence of sanitary workers, there is no removal. The dirty bazaars and dirty pools nourish mosquitoes that could cause (malarial) epidemic. The supervisor at the town office gives false hope to the complainants by daily promises that the water supply would be restored the next day. The residents are now fed-up and they protest strongly over the situation. Higher officials should immediately attend to these problems.

 

From the press reports of April 2008

Water supply scheme at Rabwah in doldrums

The underground water at Rabwah is bitter and brackish, so the residents depend upon water provided by the local government. As the system originally provided was getting old, water supply became very problematic. Last year, reportedly a sum of Rs. 60 million was allocated to install new machinery, water tanks and piping. According to press reports, the concerned department has failed to complete the scheme satisfactorily and the Tehsil Municipal Administration is therefore reluctant to take it over for operations.

Press reports accuse the concerned department of being slow, doing a bad job, not replacing old pipes and using sub-standard material. A trial run of the system found it unsatisfactory, as leaks developed at numerous locations. As a result, the new system was shut down. The old system is not functional any more. The result: no water for many neighborhoods in the town. While the residents suffered, the TMA and the District authorities quarreled over who is responsible. The situation of water-supply is bad.

There is also the unavoidable talk of corruption and kick-backs in the project handling.

 

From the daily Ausaf, Lahore of May 16, 2008

Chenab Nagar: Precarious state of Primary School, Darul Yuman. Risk of collapse

CHENAB NAGAR (special correspondent) Dilapidated structure of the Government Primary School Darul Yuman could collapse anytime. Approximately 170 boys are enrolled at this school while the staff comprises only Mr. Ataullah the headmaster, Qasim Hussain a teacher, and Ejaz Ahmad the keeper. It is not possible for only two teachers to manage the school. There are still two vacancies at the school, one for a PTC and another for an ESE. The management feels concerned about the lack of drinking water at the school during the prevailing hot season. The roofs are in such a precarious state that they could cave in over the children at any time. If these are not repaired, the department would be held responsible. The staff has no choice but to sit under these roofs. There is public demand that either the needed repairs should be undertaken or an alternative building allocated so that the students’ lives are not put at risk. The school staff comprises only headmaster and a teacher. People demand immediate notice.

 

From the daily Din, Lahore of July 18, 2008

Chenab Nagar: Broken roads; heaps of garbage; overflowing gutters. Residents greatly upset.

The rain water remains stagnant for days. Risk of outbreak of epidemic. Authorities urged to take notice.

Chenab Nagar: (Correspondent)          The town of Chenab Nagar, where 70,000 people live, is treated as if no official is concerned. It seems as if no one is bothered about its plight. The town is known for its broken roads, heaps of garbage and overflowing gutters. The town’s main street from Aqsa Chowk to the bus stand is broken at numerous locations. It has ditches all over, where rain water stagnates for days. The College Road, Muslim Colony Road, Maryam Girls High School front have turned into ponds. Heaps of rubbish abound in every street. There is great risk of spread of epidemics. All the political, religious and trade associations of the town have requested Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab to take immediate notice of this situation, and appealed him not to treat the town as ‘unclaimed.’

 

From the daily Aman, Faisalabad of August 3, 2008

Chenab Nagar railway station: no water; no shade; heaps of garbage; unlawful occupation of the waiting room

Travelers’ spaces remain full of filth and rubbish. An assistant station master has occupied the waiting room; he resides in it.

A local NGO had installed an electric water cooler at the station long ago; it has gone defective – needs repairs. Public protest to the federal minister and General Manager Railway against step-motherly treatment to a first rate railway station.

CHENAB NAGAR (correspondent) The railway station of Chenab Nagar has suffered step-motherly treatment From the very first day. Here, dirt abounds, drinking water is not available, and there are no latrines for men and women, no shaded platform and no trees to provide shade. Passenger areas remain dirty. The 1st-class waiting room has been occupied by an Assistant Station Master who resides there and entertains his guests therein, while the traveling public is deprived of its waiting room. It is noteworthy that a local NGO had installed an electric water cooler at the station but since long it is non-operative, and the officials are not bothered about its repairs. It is relevant that underground water at Rabwah is saltish, brackish, hard, not potable and bad for health of both man and beast. Every year the Divisional Superintendent Lahore comes here for inspection, the local pressmen and representatives inform him of the plight of the station, and he sees it himself as well, but he makes only verbal promises. A strong protest was lodged with the federal railway minister and Mr. Nasir Ahmad Zaidi, the General Manager Railways over step-motherly treatment meted out to the top-grade income station of this section.

 

The daily Jinnah, Lahore of August 27, 2008

It published a report on the local Girls High School. It printed photos of the people interviewed and the building’s damaged structure, with the note: “The building of Chenab Nagar Nusrat Girls High School is dilapidated and invites death.” The report carried the following headlines:

Chenab Nagar: Girls High School in a dilapidated state. Education continues under the shade of death. 2500 girl students receiving education in building constructed in 1948.

No water, open-air toilet etc. put Parha Likha (educated) Punjab to shame. A tragedy in the offing.

Teacher and students injured in 1997 due to falling electric fans from the ceiling. The building was declared dangerous, but despite a budget in billions, the school is provided no funds.

The Deputy Nazim came over when he heard of the media’s visit. Residents demand the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to rebuild the school and remove the (town) Nazim.

The report notes with concern that the school building that was declared dangerous 11 years ago in 1997, has not been rebuilt. A tragedy could be in the offing. The last government spent millions on propaganda and publicity on Parha Likha Punjab, but spent little on repair and maintenance of dilapidated school structures. Dozens of girl students and teachers were hurt over the past years due to structural failures. The students feel worried over the risk to their lives. The Deputy Nazim promised to carry out repairs and maintenance.

The daily Aajkal, Lahore rendered a similar report about this school in its issue of August 30, 2008.

 

An incident in September not reported in the Press

AHMAD NAGAR, September 28, 2008: Ahmad Nagar is a large village on the north-western outskirts of Rabwah. It has a mixed population, Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis.

Ramadan is the lunar month of fasting, and Muslim are expected to be more mild, tolerant and good in this holy month. The twenty-seventh of Ramadan has a special significance with most Muslims, and they tend to be more charitable and pious on this date. However, the anti-Ahmadi mullas of Ahmad Nagar, Chenab Nagar and Chiniot have a different perception and set of priorities.

On 27th Ramadan this year, these mullas organized a big anti-Ahmadiyya event at Masjid Bilal in Ahmad Nagar. They indulged in slander and badmouthing against Ahmadis throughout the night. Their language was highly provocative and hurtful.

In addition, these mullas declared that members of the Ahmadiyya Community were apostates and deserved to be put to death (Wajib-ul-Qatl). One of them said that this kind of murder was a pious duty (Muqaddas freezah). This exhortation could lead some of their flock to commit heinous crime. It is this kind of ‘preaching’ that led to the assassination of three Ahmadis in Sindh in that very month of September.

`           Ahmadiyya headquarters informed the authorities of this. We do not know if they took any concrete action.

 

From the Daily Express of October 16, 2008

Water not available. Residents of Chenab Nagar start migration.

Worshippers turn to Tayamum (ablution with dust); forewarn of protest (gherao). Bursting of the main pipe is the cause –Town Council

CHENAB NAGAR (correspondent) Residents of Chenab Nagar have moved from the affected areas on account of non-availability of water. The problem has been persisting for the last ten days, and people now have to buy (expensive) bottled mineral water. It is a pity that on account of non-availability of water in mosques, worshippers have to use dust to simulate ablution. The Town Council is insensitive to their plight in that they have not taken due notice of this for the last ten days. According to the town officials, the main supply line burst. Its repair was undertaken, but it burst again due to water pressure. The residents, however, state that the Council gave the repair task to unskilled laborers rather than qualified technicians, so the repairs did not last even one day. The affected residents have warned that they will have no option but to protest strongly (gherao of the offices) for which the entire responsibility will be that of the TMA (Tehsil Municipal Administration) Chiniot.

 

From the daily Jang, Lahore of November 29, 2008

Chenab Nagar turns into a heap of problems. Representatives fall short of expectations.

Bad drainage results in pools of sewage water in streets and bazaars

Most primary schools have no boundary walls. Three neighborhoods have no water in pipes.

CHENAB NAGAR (Report by Rana Nadeem Ahmad) Roads have become narrow due to crowding by parking of motorcycle rickshaws and vendors’ carts. Chenab Nagar has become a problem-prone city.

Public representatives have fallen short of people’s expectations. The neighborhoods and suburbs within the jurisdiction of Union Council 41 & 42 have become problems areas. There is apparently no one responsible for this population that exceeds a hundred thousand people. The elected representatives appear helpless in the face of numerous civic problems.

On account of the damaged drainage system, main streets and bazaars get flooded with dirty water. Overflowing gutters cause great inconvenience to pedestrians. Since long the neighborhoods of Darul Ulum West, East and Central have been denied water supply, so their people have to drink brackish underground water.

The fault-prone telephone exchange causes failures of phones. Residents pay heavy line-rent to PTCL but in turn receive unsatisfactory service.

Traffic is problematic on the Aqsa Road; there is always a risk of an accident thereby. Pedestrians find it difficult to walk on the Railway Road, Aqsa Road and the Gol Bazaar on account of encroachments. Aqsa Road has been almost occupied by rickshaw drivers and vendors. Roads that are 60-feet wide have thus become narrow passages. Educational institutions are also faced with problems.

Residents of Chenab Nagar have requested the Chief Minister to give priority attention to the problems of Darul Ulum West, Darul Futuh, Nasirabad and other neighborhoods. Sometimes ago when Mr. Muhammad Khalid, the Divisional Superintendent Railways came here on tour, he issued instructions that encroachments near the railway line should be removed; however no follow-up action has been taken. These encroachment cause great difficulty to traffic and pedestrians.

 

The daily Jang, Lahore of December 7, 2008

It published a story on the state of local services in Rabwah. Any self-respecting government would find this report condemnatory enough to wake up and take remedial action. A translation is given below – Ed.

CHENAB NAGAR: Streets unpaved even after 60 years. A large neighborhood still deprived of essential services.

The drinking water project was due to be completed within a year; it remains unfinished.

Numerous residents rendered disabled due to illegal stone blasting. Many roofs damaged.

Minors drive rickshaws; they precipitate traffic jams due to improper parking.

CHENAB NAGAR: The population of Chenab Nagar, on the west bank of the river Chenab is increasing. Many colonies have sprung up in the suburbs, but even 60 years after its founding the city remains without paved streets. Darul Ulum West, the largest neighborhood of the city is deprived of basic civic needs.

The bridge over the Chenab, that cost millions, is at the mercy of contractors. The poles have no light, the road is broken and unswept. Parks by the riverside have been occupied by beasts, and tiles used here and there have been stolen.

The city has schools and colleges but their buildings suffer from lack of repairs and maintenance. A number of schools have turned into ruins.

The Health Department started work on a project to provide water in Chenab Nagar. The project costing Rs. 54 million was to be completed within a year, however it remains unfinished and the residents still do not have drinking water. The situation was reported to the Chief Minister and Syed Muhammad Zahir, the Secretary of Local Government.

The system to keep the streets clean is not functional. Sweepers clean only the spaces that interest the privileged few. This filth breeds disease.

Link roads in the area are depleting. Money was allocated for the repairs of Sahiwal Road and Sadiq Road in Darul Ulum Gharbi but was consumed by political rivalry. A few days ago, the repairs to Degree College Road were undertaken, but the connecting link road was left unattended.

Illegal blasting for stones goes on in the (local) hills. This has led to many persons being injured and rendered crippled. Many roofs have caved in and a number of youth have been killed.

There are no street lights in the city. Criminals prowl the dark streets. The TMO Chiniot has floated a ‘tender notice’ but there is no follow-up. Soon after sunset, streets become dark and it is dangerous to come out at night. Not a day passes without frequent power cuts. Power is switched off without warning. Live wires hang so low in some streets that an accident may happen at anytime.

Under-age drivers park their rickshaws in a way that leads to traffic jams. Pedestrians face great difficulty due to unruly traffic. When the railway crossing is shut, the traffic stops in three rows on both side of the crossing; thereafter rickshaws and cars jam the traffic in efforts to overtake others.

 

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