Kalash people stage protest in Chitral City for recovery of Greek national Athunasis

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: Hundreds of Kalash people including men, women and little girls protested the kidnapping of Greek national Athunasius from Bumburate valley here on Thursday and took out procession in the city and demonstrated in front of DPO office and later on staged sit-in in front of district nazim and DCO office and addressed a press conference in Chitral Press Club. Giving a dead line of three days to the government to recover the Greek volunteer they warned of mass exodus of the Kalash people from all the three valleys to another country to seek peace and security of life. The Kalash elders came hard on police and said that the gory incident was the result of security lapse as the police officials deployed on his duty did not perform their duties. They questioned that why the police constables did not fire a shot when the kidnappers entered the spacious building and went straight to the room where he was residing. They said that as a security measure, Athunasius had selected a room inside the building which he kept obscure and very few persons including the police guards knew about its location. The Kalash elders astonished that how the assailants went straight to the room to seize him and why the police guards remained dormant. They said that the residence of the Greek was located in the centre of the valley and there were at least five check posts of security forces including Chitral police, Chitral Scouts and district border force in the road leading to the Afghan border and no one questioned them. They alleged that the security forces wasted time and did not chase the kidnappers to the border area to get the release of the Greek. They questioned that if a villager from Ayun village travels to the pasture near the border and spots the kidnappers taking the hostage to Nooristan, then why the security forces did not make an attempt. The Kalash elders said that the incident has exposed our security arrangement and how we are at the mercy of the intruders and the underworld who can easily strike at the position of their choice. In a fit of rage, they asked the government to withdraw its police and other forces from the valley and the residents will protect themselves. They paid rich tributes and homage to the Greek volunteer who, they said, had dedicated his very life for the progress and prosperity of the people of the valley. The Kalash people burst into tears and kept on weeping while describing his achievements for the people of the valley. A girl student of the school established by the Greek called him like her ‘papa’ and stated how kindly he used to teach them and fulfilled all their necessities. The Kalash elites offered to sell all their landed property and even houses if the kidnappers demand for ransom for the release of their benefactor. Those who addressed included Behram Shah (minority member of the zilla council), Wazirzada, Nabaik advocate, Bachhara Khan, Shahi Gul, Shahzadi and nazim of union council Ayun Rehmat Ilahi.

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