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Remembering Deputy Commissioner Osama Warraich — a champion for Chitral’s welfare

FAHIM ZAMAN

We first met Osama Ahmed Warraich, deputy commissioner Chitral, in his office around 8.30pm on Nov 26, 2015. While talking to us, he continued signing compensation checks for Rs200,000 each for the affectees of the Oct 26 earthquake.

A young DMG officer of 37 Common, Osama graduated from the civil services academy in 2010. He joined the KPK civil service corps as assistant commissioner, Abbotabad. He later went on to serve as ADC Peshawar before getting posted as deputy commissioner Chitral in 2015. Locals in Abbotabad still remember Osama who seemed to idealise his maternal uncle DIG Zulfiqar Cheema (retired) for his bold efforts for removal of massive encroachments along Karakoram Highway.

He used to ask people visiting Chitral to help him rehabilitate the 200-bed Civil Hospital Chitral, built during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 1970s government and degenerating ever since. He would reason that it takes more than 15 or even 20 hours for poor patients to reach Peshawar or Islamabad for treatment. His list of basic medical equipment required for the civil hospital sitting on my email is worth no more than 17 million rupees.

Unlike most civil servants he was interested in equipment — not funds.

He was well aware that there was no hope for the needed refurbishments coming from the provincial or federal government.

Osama would suggest that Karachi’s industrialists should consider investing in Chitral’s artisans and cost-effective local handicraft, minerals and fruits or vegetables.

He was always excited about completion of the Lowari tunnel — hoping (against hopes) that it would be completed during his tenure.

Whenever flights to and from the Northern areas for Islamabad were cancelled, he would spend his day requesting the National Highway Authority (NHA) project director to allow people passage through under-construction Lowari tunnel.

Having closely interacted with Edhi Trust, Shehzad Roy and Zindagi Trust, Jibran Nasir and Elaj Trust, Karachi Relief Trust – to name but a few – Osama would often wonder aloud if there were not something strange about people in Karachi and their love for charity and relief work.

Generally liked by people of Chitral Osama, his wife and only child died in Pk-661 crash near Havelian. His elder brother Saad Ahmed Warraich of 32 Common is working with foreign services and posted in USA. via DAWN

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