Kalash tribe, Ismailis in safe hands

  • KP govt report says Pak Army patrolling valley to counter terror attempt by Taliban
  • Says a unit of AK-42 Regiment has been sent to valley

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government informed the Supreme Court that any Taliban incursion into Pakistani territory from the Afghan province of Nooristan to force the Kalash tribe in Chitral to convert to Islam was almost impossible because the Pakistan Army was regularly patrolling the border.

In reply to a suo motu notice taken by the court on February 20, KP Advocate General Abdul Latif Yousufzai submitted a two-page report explaining that the army and other law enforcers were keeping a strict vigil through 16 checkposts from Arandu to Lutkoh areas. They were ready to counter any attempt by the Taliban, the report said. Moreover, the border with Nooristan is inaccessible and presently snowbound.

The Malakand commissioner visited Chitral District on February 21 and held a meeting with the Kalash community in BumburetValley, the report said, adding that the threat issued by the Taliban was nothing new.

The video clip issuing warning to the Kalash to convert to Islam, which was cited by the local and international media, had not been circulated among the people of Chitral, the report claimed.

It said the administration and the army had taken steps to heighten security in the area. On February 22, General Officer Commanding 17 Division General Javed Bukhari visited the KalashValley and reviewed security arrangements, the report said, adding that a unit of the army’s AK-42 Regiment had been sent to the area.

Moreover, another platoon of police reached Bumburet; 55 policemen were stationed, in addition to a special force of 15 personnel and an equal number of border police.

“This has boosted the morale of the people of Chitral, particularly Kalash and Ismaili communities,” the report said. It claimed that the news story about the Taliban threat was old and some sections of the media had reproduced it out of “vested interest”.

While taking up the suo motu, the Supreme Court had held that any threat to change faith was against Articles 9 (security of person), 20 (freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions) and 36 (protection of minorities) of the constitution.