PESHAWAR: The provincial government split Kohistan into two districts – Upper Kohistan and Lower Kohistan, on Wednesday. An official notification in this regard has been issued.
Adviser to the Chief Minister (CM) Abdul Haq Khan told journalists at the CM’s Secretariat that the entire district covers an area of 7,490 square kilometers, and comprised four tehsils – Pattan, Paalas, Dassu and Kandia.
He said the district had been divided into two new districts because of its geographical complexity and for administrative ease. Upper Kohistan will now comprise of Pattan and Paalas tehsils while Lower Kohistan will have Dassu and Kandia tehsils.
“It was a long-standing demand of the residents of the area,” said Khan. “Previously, Dassu tehsil was the headquarters of the district and people spent around Rs280 million on transport to get there to settle legal and other issues.”
The adviser said they were thankful to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government for fulfilling the demand of carving two districts from Kohistan.
Advocate Muhammad Didar, a resident of Kohistan, said the district had a population of 472,570 people according to the 1998 census while geographically it stretches from the border with Kashmir to Gilgit-Baltistan, Swat, Shangla, Mansehra and Battagram districts.
“Kohistan has a rich history and lies at a crossroads between Central, South and South-Western Asia,” he said. “Future generations from the area will never forget the decision taken by the PTI government.”
While responding to a question, Abdul Haq Khan said he would support the movement of a Hazara province and the division of Sindh and Punjab provinces.
After the division of Kohistan district, the province now has 26 districts in total.
Only recently, elected representatives from Pattan had voiced their dismay over the proposed division, and had demanded that if the division was in fact to be made, the Indus River should be made the boundary between the two districts.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2014.