CHITRAL  -  An influential person has confessed to have been extracting extortion of Rs300 from each vehicle passing through Priate road to Pasti valley situated among the high mountains of North West of Chitral.

Its road passes through peaks of mountain which is the most dangerous one. Councilor Abdul Raoof of Priate said the Pasti road was constructed some 25 years ago but nobody would take tax from vehicle travelling on the road earlier. A wooden bridge on the canal was damaged by flood in 2015, and its woods and iron rope was taken by Sawada Jan, a resident living near the bridge. Jan had then assured that he would return the material as and when the bridge construction starts. However, he put a few woods on water canal and started taking Rs300 as tax from each vehicle, the councilor said. He termed it ghunda Tax.

This scribe also contacted Sawada Jan who confessed that he was taking Rs300 as tax from each vehicle. He said that the bridge and road were damaged by flood in 2015. “I repaired the road and bridge on my personal expenditure which cost some Rs600,000 but neither the government nor local people paid him thus now he was taking tax for the last two years,” he said.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Abdul Akram said that local people had complained to him about Sawada Jan and the police lodged FIR against him and arrested him.

The residents of the area appealed to the government for giving them relief from this illegal tax. They also demanded basic facilities and rights because there is no road, electricity, hospital, school, college, telephone, drinking water pipeline nor any other facility in remote area.