CHITRAL, FEB 21 (MAMOSA Report) – In the wake of recent threats to Ismaili community and Kalash tribe by Taliban, a grand peace jirga (conference) was held by the Pakistan government at Bumborat in Kalash Valley on Friday to address concerns of the communities.
According to reports, the Chitral community consisting of the Kalash tribe and the Ismailis fear possible attack and are apprehensive of the recent video warning by Taliban regarding forced conversion to Islam.
The rand peace conference was chaired Col Naeem Iqbal Commandant Chitral scouts, and attended by Deputy Commissioner Chitral Muhammad Shuaib Jadoon, District Police Officer Ghulam Hussain, Major Murtaza Officer Commanding , Lieutenant Murtaza of army unit deployed at Pak-Afghan border near Kalash valley, as well as by elites from Kalash, Ismaili and Sunny communities in the picturesque northern Chitral Valley.
Addressing the peace jirga Col Naeem Iqbal said that the Chitral Scouts, Police, Border police, Elite force and the Pakistan Army have been deployed on the borders and are on red alert to overcome any situation. He said the forces are capable of encountering any threat. He stressed upon the local people to take no tension of the Taliban threat.
The Officer said that the video recently released by the Taliban was not new and made in 2011 but it was projected in the media and that is why the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo moto notice. He urged the local people to be united and not allow any hidden hands to disturb their unity and harmony.
In a 50-minute long video released on Feb 2 on the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) media wing’s website, the militants had announced an “armed struggle” against the Kalash and Ismaili Muslims. The narrator warned the Kalash, who are thought to number only 3,500, to convert to Islam or face death, calling on Sunnis to support their cause.
Elites from Kalash, Sunny and Ismaili community attending the jirga said they are hopeful they will be protected by the security forces. They asked for construction of roads and giving employment facilities to residents of the valley. They demanded preference in recruitment in the border security forces, police, Chitral Scouts and employment to youth of the neglected and backward areas as they cannot compete with the youth of other developed areas.
The community members also demanded separate schools for girls students of the valley because there are no girls schools and they are compelled to read in boys schools.
Deputy Commissioner and other officers of the district administration said they have approved a hostel for 100 students and 3 mega projects in the annual development plan for the valley.
Some elites from Kalash community like Barzangi, Saifullah, Pehlawan, Wazir and other expressed their full confidence in the Pakistan army and assured all sorts of cooperation for maintaining exemplary peaceful environment in the Kalash valley as well as in Chitral.
A large number of people belonging to all walks of life including local leaders of political parties also attended the grand peace jirga.