Muslim and Kalash Defence Council stages protest for road in Chitral Valley

By: News Desk      Published: 06:35 PM, 27 Sep, 2021
Muslim and Kalash Defence Council stages protest for road in Chitral Valley

Hundreds of people from Muslim and Kalash communities Monday organized a peaceful protest rally for the construction of a road in Ayun, Chitral.

The protest was led by the Muslim and Kalash Défence Council Ayun leader Saleh Nizam Advocate.

Addressing the gathering, elders of Muslim and Kailash tribes including women councillors said that Kailash Valley is famous all over the world for its unique culture and natural beauty and the annual festivals of the Kalash tribe are discussed all over the world which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.

But unfortunately if once a tourist travels on this narrow and dangerous road, he also advises his future generations not to go to Kailash valley again.

They said the valley borders adjacent to Afghanistan's Nuristan Province, a Taliban stronghold, and that terrorists from Afghanistan have come here several times in the past, killing many Kalash people and taking away hundreds of their livestock. 

The speakers urged the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa to take notice of the importance of this road from a security point of view. 

On this occasion, the Kalash women also expressed their grievances against the elected MNA and MPA from Chitral who come to our house during the voting, but now that our road is bad, they do not raise this issue in the assembly nor come to us to take part in the protest. They urged that they should to residing from assemblies’ membership.  

Elders of the Kalash tribe warned that if work on the road did not begin immediately, they would be forced to boycott their annual religious festival, Chhoms, and this time tourists would be barred from attending the festival. 

The meeting also passed a unanimous resolution under which they said that Rs 4.60 billion had been sanctioned for the construction of this road in the previous government but due to unknown reasons work on this road has not started yet. The federal and provincial governments are urged to direct the NHA high ups to start work on this road immediately so as to alleviate the hardships of the locals as well as the tourists. DC Lower Chitral was urged to Immediately apply section 4 and ensure payment to the landowners as compensation whose land come in the opening of this road according to the existing norms. The northern and southern borders of the Kailash Valley connect the Nuristan province of Afghanistan and in the past terrorists from their intrusion in Kalash valley have caused loss of life and property to the people of Kalash. Wazirzada Kalash, Special Assistant for Minority Affairs to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should immediately start work on the construction of these roads. 

The resolution also thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for chosen  Wazirzada Kalash as a member of the Provincial Assembly on a minority seat from the Kailash tribe and giving him the portfolio as a special assistant to the Chief Minister. It was demanded that Imran Khan should fulfil his promise made in June 2002 that he would visit Kalash after coming to power. He was asked to visit Kalash Valley as soon as possible and put ointment on our wounds so that Assess the poor condition of the roads. 

Abdul Majeed Qureshi, Haji Muhammad Yusuf, Wajihuddin, Muhammad Asif, Kalash Khatun Councilor Anta Begum, Habib-ur-Rehman, Saifullah Kailash, Qari Khush Wali Khan and others spoke on the occasion. The meeting was attended by women from the Kailash tribe, in particular, expressing solidarity with the Muslim community and demanding immediate widening and construction of the road on which the patient dies before reaching the hospital. A large number of people both from the Muslim and Kalash communities attended the meeting.  

 Report: Gul Hamaad Farooqi