PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser was laughing when the issue of rats’ attacks on Peshawar had come under discussion last year, but now those rats have managed to enter the assembly building, scaring some of the officials.
Rats the size of cats have “invaded” the assembly building, nibbling away at food and cables, officials of the assembly, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune.
“I was surprised to see a rat the size of a cat in my office and then it escaped through a hole three times smaller than its size,” said an official of the assembly.
The official saw bits of food and pieces of paper scattered all over his office when he joined work after leave, but he had no idea about the intruder until he saw a big rat walking on a wire.
‘Killer’ rats rattle rural Peshawar
“Since that day I am super careful about drinking and eating in my office,” the official said, adding that the rats have damaged computer and microphone wires in the main hall.
“During the last session, the cables of the microphones were damaged, which were immediately replaced by the staff without complaining about the rats,” the official said, adding that rats damaged the wires.
Another official said that he had to throw away sweets he had kept in his drawer as he saw a rat nibbling at them.
The official added that the assembly administration is helpless in killing the rats as they are hiding in the ceiling and poisoning them would only spread an awful smell.
“It is not possible to breach the ceiling as there are dozens of wires and air-conditioning ducts,” the official said, adding that the rats are eating cookies the assembly staff keep for guests in cupboards and drawers.
The only way to control the rodents is to stop their food supply, he added.
Officials informed this reporter that the rats have recently emerged in the assembly and most probably they entered the assembly building during the ongoing construction work or through sanitation lines.
When asked about the issue, Khalid Ullah, who is in-charge of the assembly estate wing, said, “We have not received any official complaint about rats, but have heard that they scared a few officials.”
“Rats have not caused any damage to the assembly building,” he said. “They can easily be controlled as the assembly building has no free passages except for a few sanitation lines.”
Last year, the attack of rats on Peshawar was a hot topic as the government hospitals of the city were filled with dozens of rat-bite cases on a daily basis.
Peshawar announces rat-killing bounty after infestation
PTI-led K-P government was mocked when Peshawar’s district administration and Peshawar Cantonment Board had announced bounties on rats.
The Peshawar Cantonment Board had announced Rs25 bounty per rat, while the district administration Rs300.
Interestingly, the K-P police had arrested a man in Attock for smuggling dead rats from Punjab to Peshawar to claim bounties.
The issue also came under discussion at the K-P Assembly when JUI-F lawmaker Askar Pervaiz drew the house’s attention towards increasing number of rat-bite cases in the city. Then in one of the sessions, the K-P government spokesperson Shah Farman defined the ages of rats in Peshawar around eight years and that they were left by the previous government.
The district administration ran a drive against rats last year, killing them in hundreds, but now the topic has gone to the back burner and so has the drive against rats.
An earlier version of this story erroneously identified MPA Askar Pervaiz as a PML-N lawmaker. He belongs to the JUI-F. The error is regretted.