Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

We shall cherish Chilas!

Aisha J. Khan 

As the whole world is taken aback by the horrific killing of the 11 tourists and their guides along the Bunar nala in Diamer Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan. We the people of Chilas (the nearest village known as the headquarter of Diamer district) condemn it as humanly as possible and our hearts go out the families of victims. If this is all not enough to shake the conscious of common Pakistani than what can?

Pakistan is undeniably in the whirlpool of chaos and violence now the very victims happen to be our foreign guests, the adventurous, fun-loving mountaineers who are a joy to have. My hometown the much-loved Chilas, spread out in a tiny valley across rugged mountains along the Karakorum highway of Pakistan en route to Gilgit is the place which is bearing all the heat, the circumstances there is as baffling for us as it is for anybody else.

When I came across a disturbing article in dawn online newspaper blog called” why I hate Chilas”, in another situation I would completely disregard it, but since it is a spiteful attack on my village, region and people it’s my moral duty to enlighten the folks who just make assumptions on mere heresy. I would think its natural to spend time in Chilas, get to know people, the area, environment then write, but the self-proclaimed journalist and environmentalist who proudly rants a whole list of biased accusations against Chilas, its people, does not even spare the children, and continues on a 3 page, half true ill-informed piece, based on frantic visits while passing through the area.

I am shocked at the approach of the ‘civilized and educated’ person who writes such a juvenile, maliciously intended article – which not only promotes hate but also serves as an attempt at polarizing the very sensitive region of Gilgit Baltistan. The piece of writing does not only give a distorted impression of a region and people, but although the tourist killing is not a sectarian issue but she has also tried to instigate sectarian disharmony by highlighting the Shia Sunni tensed past, which is particularly troubling and raises serious questions about her objective.

Diamer has a tribal culture, they live by their strict customs and traditions but that should not alienate them from rest of country, indeed we find similar cultural norms elsewhere in Pakistan such as Balochistan, KPK and parts of Sindh. Having an approximate population of 200, 000, the district has a challenging terrain with pockets of population living inside mountainous landscape called Nalas. Rampant very poor and backward area, which is prevalent everywhere. It is of the essence to mention that the two high-profile figures of Diamer have been awarded the Sitara-e- Imtiaz (highest Medal of Honor by Pakistan) by then foreign Minister Rehman Malik for their peace efforts in the region namely Inayatullah Shumali and Qazi Inayatullah.(The only two to receive it from GB).

The grand peace jirga of Diamer consisting of the elders of community, the political, religious and civil society all have stood together assisting government in finding killers of the recent incidents including the Nanga Parbat incident and killings of passengers on KKH. The tragic incident of tourist killing has been an eye opener to the people of Chilas. We do not overlook the possibility that a few people might have acted as facilitator for which whole community cannot be condemned. There are always criminal elements in every society. Today there is a growing perception among the public is that there seem to be efforts to drag G-B in the wider war on terror. For that purpose local people are being used in a series of heart breaking events over the past 3 years.

Who resisted Taliban infiltration into GB?

Diamer is neighbor to Kohistan, which is part of Khyber – Pakhtunkhwa. In the past when Taliban insurgency was in full swing in Swat valley, who stopped militants infiltration into GB? Was it police, GB Scouts or any other force? It was the people of Chilas and Diamer who stood rock solid and blocked Taliban access to GB. If they had a slightest of cooperation, the situation of GB would be different today. We should therefore owe this to Diamer. Bad things should be condemned irrespective of where they are and who does those. The GB should also not forget the feat of Diamer people when they protected, nourished and safely transported 300 men, women and children stuck in Buner das last year after mob killed 10 passengers. The violence erupted when a rally in Gilgit was attacked by hand grenade, leaving 5 dead and 60 people injured critically. Except for the two major incidents, Lets us have an honest look whether in 65 year of history of Diamer has ever been foreigners been attacked. The answer is no.

My country has endured the challenges of prolonged dictatorships-martial laws, The 71 partition from Bangladesh, the afghan war, the shaky and fragile episodes of democracy and then the very fruits of war on terror that has victimized Pakistanis more than ever. We don’t need more suffering or more defamation in international community by acts of terror.

As the peace-loving and the exceptionally loyal people of  GB, we shall not allow any tragic incident as a pretext to legitimize extremism in Gilgit Baltistan neither shall  GB be pulled in any fanatic agendas which we do not advocate nor promote in any way. The region must be uplifted and brought into national or regional realm to diminish the radical ideas flourishing there. Let’s not be quick to judge an entire population on the basis of a few tragic incidents and let the harmonizing ideas and endeavors prevail.

And when in Chilas, the nights are especially beautiful, the stars brighter, the sky more lucid and the peace that surrounds it more cherished.

The contributor is a “Human rights and peace activist” belonging to Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan. She can be reached at

24 thoughts on “We shall cherish Chilas!

  1. Very nicely written I strongly appreciate how the writer has given the very positive aspect of Chilas and Diamer district. This is the real spirit the youth must have in mind instead of writing against each other. Such clarification gives me a satisfaction and clear understanding of the situation in Diamer. Indeed it is a step forward to listen each other and weed out the root cause in any society through mutual understanding based on rationale and mutual respect.

    Well done an eye opener for the Pessimists

    1. I wish to ask some questions about the published article i agreed the importance of environment and culture of Diamer .My few questions wants clear answer from the author side?
      1. Why the people of Diamer did not allow to reside the Government servants of other sect in Diamer ?
      2.Why the people of Diamer provide shelter for absconders and terrorist from other districts?
      3.Why the people of Diamer allow and provide plat forms to Mulavis from other districts for hate speeches for other sects.
      4.Where are the mosques of other sects in Chilas why burn these mosques in 1988?
      5.Why the people banned female education?
      Is this is rich culture of Diamer………..?

      1. Dear Mubashir Hussain, who said that the people of Chilas are not allowed the persons of other sects to reside their, the people of Ismaili sect are working there and no one harm them it is only Shities who them self not ready to reside there because of their fear.
        2. same question arise then who provide shelter to the terrorist of Gilgit after their escape.
        3. it is not true bro. i spent 14 years in Chilas it is not come to my knowledge but same question arise here why Danyore is stage same game?
        4. only one mosque was their but you burent the houses of Ahle sunnet in Danyore, killing a minority their why?
        5 it is also not true you read the article, the write is also belong to Chilas and she is educated person then how can you say it. there is a Girls College in Chilas

  2. Good peace of writing Ayesha…We all should fight terrorism together, however we should also keep our eyes open as there might be discrepant amongst us who might have got sold in the hand of terrorist. We cannot and should not eliminate such a possibility and then only can create peace.

  3. Although u are good in manipulation, but we still want a grand operation in diamer….
    as far as i know. ppl of chilas are the Most loyal, but its also a matter of fact that TALIBAN or other militant organization can not execute their activities, WITH OUT LOCAL SUPPORT…
    lets say 20% of locals are supporters of Militants, but where are the 80% peaceful and loyal ppl???
    i am a Shia Muslim, and my ancestors are from Darel, (Manikaal). i love the hospitality and love of diamer ppl.But want the culprits to be hanged , to save the True loving and loyal face of Diamer… Diamer cant b saprate from GB , its the most beautifull parrt of GB…
    ‘Kafir kafir-S*** Kafir” heard this slogan in a clip of killing 10 Shia pessangers on KKH… evry one can see that these brutal killers were the locals one…. regard less of Shia Killing, i condemn evry killing of Innocent, wether its muslim, non muslim police or Army officers… cuz every life is respectble.
    we want an operation, not being baised to diamer or sunni muslim brothers, but for the rehabilitation of diamer, to save its real loving face of love, to kick out the Taliban bastards from that Love valley./…

    1. well said bro…there should be operation. the innocent locals as well as the grand jirgah (as mentioned by the writer that they dont want target killing of shia ) should help impartially the government

  4. yes of course all people are not crimianals but may be some missionaries doing these sort of activities who are used by other sources. people of chilas are peacefull people may be some violent elements involve but on basis of those minor groups we cannot generalise whole people like them. every society has some elements who are used by other people to get their interests. people of whole GB don’t want such activities they love peace and harmony. they are brave people who by themselves got independence from dogra. it is may be some foreign hands to disturb the peace of the region because they want to access GB. GB is important region fro super pwoers because of its geostrategic importance. people should unite beyond racial, religious and regional difference to save our beautifull land.

  5. well said Ayesha, there are elements who are and have done their best to pit Diamer against.GB.. The brave People of Diamer saved more lives from being massacred by the mob. They should do more to safeguard the lives of innocent passengers travelling through Chilas.

  6. well. i pray that every citizen of chilas would think like you ayesha…but we cant deny the article which was published in Dawn newspaper as facts were highlighted in it..Its not easy to forget those scenes when a child was going to see his father after a long time and he was excited that his father is coming home instead he saw his father`s brutally tortured dead body. No one knows who killed him, but every one knows all these happened in chilas. because he belonged to another sect,.dear sister ayesha you have tried to defend well, may be those who do not know about the facts may get convinced but we cant convince those who were effected. the video clips says that locals were involved speaking shina the local language
    Anyway i wish that one day gilglit baltistan my homeland will become a land of peace Inshallah. There will be no fear when I enter the diamer zone while going home instead I will feel proud and happy when I step in my lovely homeland.

  7. Good Peace of writing, and voice of diameries Ashi Khan keep it up, every is against terrorisim and want peace,enough is enough now its the time we have to unite to bring peace in our home.

  8. terrorists have deep roots in Chilas and terrorists involved in Nanga parbat incident identified by security agencies, shows it..
    Out of 15 terrorists 10 belongs to Chilas…Majeed, the mastermind of the attack on foreign tourists, belongs to Chilas.So we should accept their increasing activities in the region.
    Youth of diamer can defeat them standing against them in front line.

  9. A very nice & much needed article ,I remember writings of a researcher from British era in 1890s writes about diamir ” I have seen the tiniest democracies in the world ,each village here is a democracy in itself, decisions are taken after long debates in Jirga, where every villager is equally represented ” We Must cherish Chilas”.

  10. Nice and affective piece of writing, every action has a reaction …I think this article answer not only the writer Rina Saeed But all of those who propagate that the people of Diamer are illiterate, now a female highly educated writer of Diamer answer the allegations of a biased female columnist (Rina Saeed ) and elaborate the real picture of District Diamer. Thumbs up Aisha Khan u did a great job,, Really “We Must Cherish Chilas “

  11. what a nice way of saying all the nice things about GB/Pakistan and its people, like a plastic surgeon fixes up the patient real good but the patient does not survive the niceties in the end. the truth is “too much islam” islam has become a “havva” a “janoon”. it has turned normal people into “wahshees”. it has turned Sunni brother against a Shia brother. it is like Muslims have the only right to live in this world and everything and everyone who is not shia/sunni does not exist and does not have the right to live. we are too quick to blame everyone else, the Indians, the Americans the Israelis. they don’t tell us not to stand in lines at the airport, they don’t say that our trains should run late, that our streets should be filthy that our children should clean cars day and night at trafic signs taht they should beg, or GB people spoiling the rivers because downstream lives Sunnis and Punjabi, and Sindhi and Mohajirs, they spoil the waters because they think its better to spoil the water for them. Things will continue to be the way they are until we change ourselves, when mineral water is really a mineral water and not some sewage water turned into mineral water, we have to start lining up in ques, our trains have to run on time.we must turn our tv off when waseem akram wants to sell us something. it has to change on an individual level only then we can have respect of other people. when we stop these small things in ourselves and respect each other on personal level. Eid has just past, Eid is what makes us humans, when we forget our religious differences when everyone embraced each other with open arms and generosity, that day was a good day why cant we live like that in peace and harmony like friends and brothers. why cant that day lasts forever.

  12. Gilgit baltistan youth literary society a group which propagates a certain agenda and sect posts on Facebook took off Aisha khan’s article link because it had more than 100 comments. The kind of discrimination and barbarism she faces being a woman in that region is admirable.people are trying to curb and silence all brave and true voices of GB. Aisha khan don’t give up, show them what they are! You are and will always be better than them and they know it,

  13. @ Aisha J. Khan, i got literally piece today and through concentration i have been gone through, insight learning explored Diamer district orientation very well, i got link of this article in social media and under very hot comments among members in groups. As a citizen of GB, peace is necessary for you, we and all, and a good step to create knowledge based society.
    As on social activism, i personally favor your work and we all support you to create harmony and peace in the region. Diamer district has its own importance in the Gilgit Baltistan, and people of this district are Generous as i experienced few of my friends from this district. Continue your work and all good work has opposition, never give up, stay tuned and go on.

    AIM, GB

  14. The lady talks about unity and facts, a woman’s view of the dilemma of GB,how wrong can she get? Never before have I read such open defense of her people.we must cherish you before we cherish Chilas .The poetry you wrote at end shows undying love for her land.excellent work Aisha! I attended your Geo capital talk hamid Mir peace candle vigil and seminar in Islamabad press club last year April 2012 for the KKH bus victims and gyari martyrs and knew then you’re an asset for GB.

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