Illegal occupation: Dysfunctional dispensary now houses influential local

The remote health care unit in Guli Gram, Swat was meant to serve thousands.


Even though the state-run dispensary, established in 1989 in Guli Gram, never assumed its due role, residents are now demanding it be freed from the encroachers and made operational. PHOTOS: SHERINZADA /EXPRESS

SWAT:


A government dispensary that was supposed to provide basic medical care to thousands of residents of remote villages near Saidu Sharif has now become the home of a somewhat influential local.


Even though the state-run dispensary, established in 1989 in Guli Gram, never assumed its due role, residents are now demanding it be freed from the encroachers and made operational. According to them, no doctor or medical technician has ever been appointed at the health unit, the idea of which was to serve more than 6,000 residents of Guli Gram and surrounding villages, including Batoda, Kukri, Akhun Baba and Mirget Dandh of Islampur Union Council.

Idrees Khan, a resident of the area, and his sister Neelam, who is a police constable, had been living near the dispensary and have now illegally made the government structure a part of their house.

Khan told The Express Tribune the building had been unoccupied “since forever” and was in poor condition as no one had ever been appointed there by the government. He said he repaired the building and it was now a part of his house, adding he would willingly vacate the premises if the government provided him adequate compensation.

Afzal Khan and Sardar Ali, residents of the area, said they had submitted an application to the district administration, health authorities and police department several times, asking to get the government building vacated from private ownership and to make it functional. However, their pleas always fell on deaf ears.

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Commenting on the issue, District Health Officer Dr Inam said the dispensary in Guli Gram was the government’s property and no one could occupy it, adding he would go to the area and sort out the matter. The official also said if the occupant fails to cooperate with authorities, he will ask the police for assistance.

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The provincial assembly member from the area, Azizullah Khan, said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government would not let any local, regardless of his connections, illegally occupy a government building for his own interests. He said he would ensure that the dispensary becomes functional for the welfare of the people.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2014.

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