Gul Hammad Farooqi
CHITRAL: Elders of the Kalash community living in Berir valley of Chitral have warned that they will leave the country if the government fails to protect them from land grabbers and Mafiosi.
According to details, some members of the Kalash tribes living in the Chitral district of Pakistan are threatened by organized land Mafiosi operating in the region with impunity. The local people have said that the police have failed to take action against the criminals, despite of several requests.
Talking to the local media, Mir Bacha, Wazir Azam, Baz Mir, Zar Bibi and Shamshad Kalash, resident of Berir valley, said that an influential man named Mumtaz has occupied their centuries old ancestral land in Khairabad locality of the valley. They accused Mumtaz of settling “criminal-type” people from Damel village on the land, by erecting tents. One family said that the people from Damel are using firearms and fear to terrorize the local people, to retain control of the land.
On Monday, women belonging to a victim family held a protest demonstration near their occupied land but even then the police did not take any action against the accused persons.
Residents of the area told this scribe that the land belongs to the Kalash family of Mir Bacha, Baz Mir and Wazir Azam (such names are common in the valley). The family owned cattle and in the summer they usually left the area to graze their animals in pastures out of the town. In the meantime, a group of people from Damel occupied their land. The residents said arms and empty shells of bullets had been recovered from the piece of land but the police were still reluctant to take any action against the alleged culprits.
The Drosh police have, reportedly, registered a weak case against the culprits under section 506, 447, 34 of Pakistan Panel Code, which is a simple section and bailable.
It was revealed that Drosh police had sent a case to the DCO for arresting these criminal persons almost 3 months ago but so far no action has been taken. Of late the Chitral police have made headlines not for a good work but for rounding up innocent people of Ayun, putting them behind bars under different sections of the law, even anti-terrorism ordinance, for registering their protest against cutting of trees in their vicinity. But when it comes to protection of property, especially belonging to the poor, the police remain as callous as one can be.
The protesting women said their men had been requesting the police to register a case against the occupiers of the land and release their land from Mafia but to no avail. They called upon the authorities concerned to take notice of the injustice being meted out to them by the land grabbers as well as the police, who seemed hand in gloves with the accused.
Public circles here also said that the police should retrieve the land and hand it over to the Kalash family. When this correspondent contacted the police and asked for the copies of any case if registered against the accused, they did not provide any evidence or any information.
Kalash people have warned that if their land was not freed from land Mafia group they will leave the country and will migrate to a safer place.