ISLAMABAD: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has taken notice of a complaint that stone tablets and tombstones with inscriptions about customs, laws and traditions of the Kalasha people are being broken and used by local people and others for building houses.
After getting a complaint filed by a public representative who requested anonymity fearing wrath of the local people, the commission issued a notice to the National History and Literary Heritage Division asking for immediate curative action and submission of a report within 14 days.
According to a statement released by the NCHR on Monday, the minority member of the District Council of the Kalasha tribe had lodged a complaint with the commission stating that stone tablets were being broken and used by locals and others for building houses.
The member also informed the commission that tombstones with similar inscriptions were also being broken and used as building material.
National rights commission asks authorities concerned to submit report within 14 days
The statement said that NCHR Chairman retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan was informed about the importance of the tablets in the context of religious practices, laws and customs of the Kalasha people. He also was further informed that besides these tablets there was no other material or paper carrying the Kalashi script.
“Their [Kalasha people’s] religion is being replaced with other religions. Moreover this unique community is now reduced to 4,000 with hardly [any] opportunities for jobs and improvement of lifestyle while enforced marriages is also a challenge for the Kalash people,” the statement said.
The statement said that Article 28 of the Constitution ensured the preservation of script and culture which was allegedly being violated and, therefore, it had become a human rights issue both under the Constitution and NCHR Act, 2012.
The NCHR, comprising a chairperson and a panel of eight members, has suo motu powers to inquire into any case of violation of human rights in the country.
The commission is also authorised to seek reports from the government, summon any government official, and undertake visits to prisons and detention centres to monitor human rights standards.
A key role of the commission is to make recommendations for effective implementation of Pakistan’s international commitments on human rights.