Locals form a committee to resolve centuries old conflict over pasture and grazing land in Jughor, Chitral

By: Gul Hamaad Farooqi

Chitral, October 27: A day long peace gathering was held today here in Chitral to resolve a longstanding dispute involving pastures and grazing rights in Jghor village of Chitral. The stakeholders conference was funded by European Union implemented by Community Appraisal & Motivation program (CAMP) in collaboration with safer world Pakistan. It was arranged under the umbrella of Legal Aid Forum for Human Rights (LAFH) Chitral.

The dispute is between the settled people of Jughor and the nomadic Gujar community, who use the pastures and valleys for grazing their goats and sheep. The local people are of opinion that due to overgrazing by goats and sheep owned by the Gujar families the slopes have become unstable and prone to landslides and rockfall, which cause destruction of the settled communities’ properties.

Both parties had approached the higher and superior court of Pakistan who directed them to resolve this issue through local administration through Jirga system (meeting).

LAFH called upon both parties for negotiation this issue peacefully. Maulana Israruddin Alhilal motivated both parties for solving the issue in the light of Islamic teaching Quran and Hadith.

Former DCO Hussain Ahmad, Professor Rahmat Karim Baig, former Amir Jumat Islami Maulana Sher Aziz, Sub Divisional Forest Officer Asif Ali Shah, Public Prosecutor Hazrat Ali  Shah, Divisional Forest Officer

Cases involving ownership and grazing rights over pastures are common in the mountain communities
Cases involving ownership and grazing rights over pastures are common in the mountain communities

Wild Life, Imtiaz Hussain and CAMP project officer Tariq Semi and other notables of the area participated in the conference and spoke on importance of compromise through mediation.

The speakers highlighted sensitivity of the issue, legal complications and impact on the region’s built environment.

Former district Nazim and Amir Jamat Islami Maghfirat Shah stressed upon both parties to solve this issue peacefully and save the area from tension. Representatives of both opponent groups explained their point of view.

The Gujar family of grazing group said that they have been using the land for grazing purposes for centuries and that they do not have any alternative source of income.

It was decided that a committee comprising of two representatives from both parties will be formed that the committee, with legal support of LAFH, will solve this issue.

It is pertinent to mention here that this was a century long issue between the two group and for  the first time there are chances of it being resolved peacefully.

In the past, both parities had indulged in armed clash and two people had died due to firing from both sides.

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