ISLAMABAD, June 27: MNA Chitral Iftikharuddin has issued a rebuttal to a story filed by Mr Zulfiqar Ahmad and published in ChitralToday (chitraltoday.net) on June 25, 2013. The following is the rebuttal of the MNA:
Denial of the Masala Added Story Titled “I did not get votes in Musharraf’s Name”. I completely deny the title of the statement attributed to me concerning the article published in “Chitral Today” wherein his overzealous pursuit of finding an eye-catching and spicy title the learned journalist had blown things out of proportions by giving it a sensational twist. When contacted, the journalist himself admitted that I had never used words as mentioned in the caption of the article and that it was his own interpretation of the conversation that took place on a phone call initiated by him. Therefore, once you take the title out of this story then the entire story loses its appeal and substance. To put the records straight, everyone knows that the election in Chitral was a contest between at least ten different political parties where I represented General Musharraf’s APML. Simply put, it was a contest between those supporting General Musharraf and the rest of the political parties opposing his nominees which was their democratic right.
The people of Chitral are well aware of my pre- and post-election statements including my offer to General Musharraf to resign my National Assembly seat if the courts allow him to contest elections. That offer was given prominent coverage in both national and Chitral-based newspapers. I projected the good works done by the Ex President in my TV interviews in PTV’s Newline which is also available on the net. A copy of my budget speech is also available where besides General Musharraf I had also praised Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for initiating the Tunnel Project. In that speech, I had said that Chitralis never forget their benefactors be it General Musharraf or Bhutto following which the Deputy Speaker had asked me to end my speech as such words may not be pleasing to the ears of those in the Government. I would also like to add that in the same budget speech I also said that Mian Nawaz Sharif’s Government can also carve out an image for itself in the hearts of Chitrali nation by providing funds to Chitral’s ongoing mega projects including Rs. 10 billion for Lowari Tunnel.
In that telephonic discussion that took place two days ago, I did mention that I had met both the Minister for Finance as well as Planning and had put in writing the request for 4 billion rupees for Lowari Tunnel in addition to the revised costs estimates of the other mega projects of Chitral including Booni-Buzund and Booni Shandoor Roads. It must be mentioned that the request was made 14 days ago and had nothing to do with the twisted story published in Chitral Today two day ago as I am duty bound to advance the cause of Chitral that must be promoted irrespective of routine politicking. The Chitrali nation must know the fact that revised cost estimates for the two road projects in Upper Chitral require additional funds of 50 crores and 1.7 billion respectively not to mention Atahk Water Channel where a fresh feasibility study has been ordered after already wasting 140 million rupees precious resources that have gone down the drain at a very heavy cost to the poor and disappointed people of Mulkhow. I am steadfast to my election pledges and remain loyal to my party and its leader as well as the larger cause of Chitral in these testing times that require a far more serious attitude. I pray to Almighty Allah to give me the strength to represent the cause of Chitral with dedication and honesty and serve the greater cause of its downtrodden masses. One remains cognizant of the fact that Chitral has many problems but being an optimist I am also aware of the enormous hydro power, tourism and mineral potential of a district having one of the highest literacy rates in KPK.
My humble request is let’s not sensationalize and play political football through such “masala added” stories at a time when General Musharraf is going through a difficult phase of his life by bravely facing the courts on the one hand and when the fate of more than half a million Chitralis is also at stake. As the combined requirements of the mega projects could swell well over Rs. 20 billion once the revised cost estimates of Atahk water channel are shared with all of us. Anyone watching TV can notice that I sit in the opposition benches and the Assembly session on that day came to an abrupt closure as announced by the speaker National Assembly unable to contain rowdy session amid lots of shouting by the PPP legislators once Ijaz Ul Haq was speaking. Copies of the recorded proceedings of that day are available from the national assembly. Any Chitral including myself must think beyond political point scoring and guard the interests of our poor area where the ultimate price for delays in such projects of vital importance will be paid for most by the poor sections of our society and not the types who have the luxury of passing and enjoying comments on the internet sitting in their cozy drawing rooms. I respect everyone’s views but have presented the facts as I know them as Allah is my witness.–Iftikhar Uddin (MNA Chitral).