Chitral: Stakeholders Conference held for resolving pasture and grazing land conflict

By: Gul Hamaad Farooqi
Chitral, November 23: A day-long stakeholders’ conference for resolving conflicts of pastures and grazing land of Chitral was held here today. The conference was organized by Legal Aid Forum for Human Rights (LAFH) and supported by CAMP and Safer World, funded by European Union. The conference was held under the chair of Haji Abdul Nasir president LAFH. Addressing on the occasion religious scholars, educationists, former bureaucrats, and intellectual hailed efforts of LAFH for resolving such conflicts.

The speakers said that there are so many conflicts among the local community and Gujar tribes of Ochust village  who having hundred of goats. They local community are in the opinion that due to large number of goats grazing it causing for deforestation as a result tremendous flood havoc the area by damaging land and loss of human lives. They said that flood damaging the area since 1968 and some 13 people were died in 2010 flood at Ochust.

They hailed efforts of LAFH who togethered both rival groups for table talk and to solve this issue with dialogue and negotiations basis. They listened versions of both groups and it was clear that both parties are willing for strategy to save Chitral from flood and other natural calamity.
Local community suggested for Gujar community to abandon shepherd profession and to be engage in some other professions as well as they must give proper education to their children. While the Gujar community said that they harvesting and keeping goats since their forefathers and have no other source of income.
During the stakeholders conference it was decided to detail a committee comprising over 2 elites from both groups and some mediators to solve this issue peacefully with mutual understanding to not violate local tradition and mutual harmony.
Those who spoke on the occasion were Rahmat Ghafor Baig, Maulana Muhammad Idrees, former DCO Hussain Ahmad, Haji Murad Khan from community side, Subadar retired Muhammad Gul from Gujar community, Haji Abdul Nasir, Muhammad Buzurg Divisional Forest officer of Chitral goal national park, and Manager retired Sher Aga.
Experts said that due to grazing by goats it causing for deforestation and ultimately causing for tremendous flood. DCO Hussain Ahmad stressed upon  both on parties to avoid from courts because it not only waste wealth but also your precious time and creates tension. So you should to solve your conflicts by Jirga (mediation) system and such type of negotiations.
The participants were in the opinion to solve this issue with a polite way and to discourage extra ordinary grazing which is causing for flood and other hazardous. A large number of people belonging to all walk of life and social workers participated in the conference which was concluded with prayer words of Maulana Shakirullah.

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