Monday, 22 October 2012

Any relief for Chitral?

by Siraj Ul Mulk

Two happenings are rapidly contributing towards disturbing the peace that we continue to enjoy in Chitral despite the unfortunate happenings in the rest of our province:

  1. The speedy and accelerated rise in the number of madrassa’s in our Mulkhow valley since the past four years.
  2. The closing down of tourism business consequently affecting the economy of Chitral in an adverse manner.

Both these factors are a direct result of the poor understanding of our district at our provincial level compounded by the poor quality of the officer in charge of the district police in Chitral.

Let me give some specific examples:

Last month the police was found protecting a man named Zahid Salarzai who had sneaked into Chitral impersonating as “a captain from the Pakistan Army”. Even the vehicle turned out to be a stolen vehicle. This incident has happened soon after another person from the tribal area had been escorted and entertained by the Chitral police saying he is “the son of Asfandyar Wali Khan of ANP” until the man’s true identity was discovered as a notorious man named Naushad Ali Khan from Landi Kotal. Both these cases are in court in Chitral.

A month ago, under a new name, one of the banned militant outfits was allowed to make a fiery hate speech in the Goldur Masjid in Chitral. Again last month when people in police uniforms and without identity papers were intercepted in front of a bank by the Chitral Scouts, the DPO ( instead of appreciating the alertness of the scouts) reacted by registering a false case of possession of alcohol against a scouts soldier the next day of this incident.

Chitral river, pic courtesy author
Four years ago people would scorn if asked what chances Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI had to contest a National Assembly seat from Chitral. Today, with the help of his mushrooming madressa’s he has become a major player.

Tourism is a major bread earner for a large section of Chitrals population. Especially hotels, shopkeepers, jeep drivers and people in high villages wanting to serve as porters. This DPO works over-time to harass the few ordinary tourists who have been lucky to get an NOC to visit Chitral but he turns a blind eye on people establishing madrassa’s in our district for dubious reasons.

In the very early days of the Swat disturbances I used to ask my friends there what they made of the imbroglio. A large percentage of them would comment that they cannot help seeing an official hand behind the mischief makers. I am reminded of those words each time I see our DPO going about his duty to protect the peace that he has inherited in our district.

- writer Siraj Ul Mulk Retired army Officer, retired Airline pilot, is now in the hospitality and agriculture business in Chitral and the owner of Hindukush Heights Chitral
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