Chitral 12 April: Speakers at a press conference highlight the issues of discrimination and exploitation of Kalasha rights. Kalasha peoples said that they are boycotting upcoming general election of 2013.
A press release issued on Friday said that the Kalasha community living in western part of district Chitral KPK, Pakistan in three V-shaped valleys known as Mumuret (Bumboret), Rukmu (Rumboor) and Biriu (Birir) including Acuagha (Achalgha) are belonging to indigenous minority.
The Kalasha tribe is unique due to culture, ethnic and religious festivities and well known around the globe.
The Kalasha are only indigenous community in Pakistan registered with UN-ECOSOC as indigenous peoples of Pakistan.
According to unverified sources Kalasha peoples came in Chitral in 327 B.C and ruled the region till 14 A.D, their kingdom scattered to Chakansari including Nooristan.
The political changes have brought the community to a jeopardized stage of their existence. The Kalasha peoples Population has ultimately abridged to around 4000 only.
The Kalasha peoples are very grateful to their Muslim brothers of district Chitral. They have always provided honored and respected to their Kalasha brothers. But unfortunately Kalasha peoples remained Isolated under the hands government. Regarding this clear evidence is that government has ignored Kalasha basic and legal ethnic and religious identity.
The NADRA has included all religions, but no room left for Kalasha as results Kalasha have no choice left to show their identity as an indigenous ethnic community.
In 1973 constitution Kalasha was included in scheduled cast in group of Hindu, Sikh and Parsi etc and there was reserved seat for this group at provincial assembly and we were given option to select our representative and the elected members were somehow giving importance to us.
But unfortunately in 2002 the constitution was dissolved and the right of minorities had given to political parties. The minorities elected through this reserved seats system for a decade ignored Kalasha peoples when we asked them they used to say that we did not take any vote from you and why we give importance to you.
Our demand from Government of Pakistan:
1. Implementation of UN Declaration
United Nation Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples: Resolution adapted by the General Assembly.
Publication Date: 2 October 2007
Citation/Document Symbol: A/RES/61/295
Reference: Sixty fist Session
Government of Pakistan is signatory to this declaration and bound to make necessary legislation for the protection of ‘’indigenous peoples’’ but unfortunately government did not consider Kalasha ethnic peoples and therefore Kalasha peoples remained isolated.
2. Restoration of 1973 constitution for minorities in Pakistan is needed as the 1973 constitution has restored for majority after 18th amendment.
3. Officially inclusion and recognition of Kalasha ethnic, religion, indigenous system in NADRA database.
4. According to UN declaration especial legislation for indigenous peoples of Kalasha and separate reserved seats in provincial assembly and national assembly has demanded.
With aforesaid demands we are boycotting upcoming general election in Pakistan and do not accepting the method of selection we want election system to elect our own representatives and we will not take part in the election process until our demands didn’t considered.
Regarding the solution of the issues we have formed ‘’Kalasha rights committee’’ any political parties, government official would be interested to resolve the issues could be table talk with the committee to resolve the problem
At the end we appealed prime minister, election commission, president of Pakistan to take so-Moto action to resolve the issues immediately.
A dozens of elders and youth spoken on the occasion names Wazir Zada, Nabaig advocate, Maihik Shai, Unat Baig, Abdul Sattar, Katar Sing, Yasing, Mir Bacha, Bajor, Mirak Shah, Noor Shali, Sher Zada, Baras Khan, Shah Hussian, Gul Froz, Javeed Bagali, Jahangir Khan, Shah Zia, Duad Shah, Sher Dul, Fazali Ahmad and Luke Rehmat.