Kidnapping of Greek volunteer -letter3

Chitralis should show solidarity with Kalash

This letter is in reference to the earlier letter posted regarding the kidnapping of Greek volunteer teacher.

I agree with writer’s grievance which holds merit on how the media is following the thread of abduction, but the brutality with which a Son Of Chitral has lost his life is taken in sideline streams. Make no mistake in seeing that the media feeds readers, based on what is likely to cause more cosmic stir and panic from populist menu. By doing so they are not being more sympathetic to a foreigner teacher but destroying the very image of the ‘Peace Heaven’ that is one step away in December to achieve UN PEACE AWARD.

Khow & Kalash are the two precious jewels of the Hindukush, the two eyes that see peace as some thing real, believable and achievable even if you are most impoverished, disadvantaged and unprivileged. We Chitrali people are not less white than any European or less brown than any South Asian. Peace is not a product of any race, color or privileged society. Yes we are less privileged than Europeans and other south Asians. We don’t have all the basic amenities of life from healthcare to rations. Our bridges fall, our sick die without medicines, we suffer high infant mortality, our aged fathers and mothers ache with pain of joints, knees and backbones. Ours isa rural life lived with hard labor in ancestral lands. We who could say a word or two in English don’t have the means to match rocketing PIA fares to ease our journeys for therapies. Even then we are content because no one is bombing our houses; no one is going to kill us in the crowd when we walk in down town Chitral.

We sleep in peace even though we are hungry and we are peaceful when we wake up to the golden sunshine atop the Terichmir. It descends down from the mountain peaks to our hearts and minds and moulds our soul with eternal sunshine. We Chitralis are Ambassadors of Peace and Peacefulness is our common heritage. Without peace, unfortunately Chitral risks being color blind and diseased. Like the one eyed giant that met his own fate stumbling upon the rocks in Hindukush caves, our folklores of long ago tell so.

We are peaceful because we have proved those nations wrong who insist that the only way to achieve peace is through economic growth, development and mindless modernization and those many who have prescribed only education’s role in achieving peace and despised traditional societies. We Chitralis as one people have proved them wrong, as without being privileged, without having loads of money and stakes high in stock markets, without development and education and without having much to ea,t we have signaled to the world that PEACE IS VIRTUE not a product of modernization and market.

Make no mistake that we are peaceful, not because we are deprived, devalued, or politically subjugated in any way. We will not resort to violence of any kind and we will not pay heed to the calls of people who preach intolerance and sectarian violence. We will not spill the blood of a neighbor or foreigner or steal his dignity and honor. We will detest, condemn and protest to highest level of every deed that disrupts the fabric of peaceful communities in Chitral.

We will march down our Hindukush slopes to condemn what is wrong, inhuman and degrading. Such as our Kalash brothers and sisters have shown to us. We must join them and show solidarity that we are one people of Chitral. If it is just about Greek teacher’s abduction, than if tomorrow Mr Langlands the principal of Langlands public school is abducted, will we not protest?

If these foreign dignitaries have committed their lives to provide education to our communities, it is disrespectful and wrong to turn blind eye and let one community alone in their ordeal.

And most of all the torture and inhuman death of Zafar Ahmad demands protest on Chitral level for proper investigation till the criminals are behind bars. This is an attack on the peace of Chitral and we should not take it easy. This incident should not embolden dangerous people who attack, kidnap, steal and beat humans to death mercilessly. It’s highly unfair and insensitive to let the burden on one community to protest and suffer. The whole of Chitral should come out and protest.

Zafar Ahmad is hero of Chitral who fought to save the Greek teacher from abduction while rest of the security apparatus has been a total failure which requires strict scrutiny. Time and again the martyrs of Chitral have given their lives in Kargil and Malakand to defend peace and such people should not go unnoticed or mentioned with less importance.

No media in the world can turn deaf to the roars of snow leopards of Chitral, if they will unitedly march down the streets protesting what is wrong, inhuman, and brutal and conspiracy against peaceful territory of Chitral and its people.

Sikandar Khan
School of Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Greece
13 Sep 09.

Kidnapping of Greek volunteer -letter2

See where the actual trouble lies

(The News)

This is in reference to a Greek teacher’s kidnapping in the Kalash valley. It is being reported that he was kidnapped and taken to Utak pass into Nuristan. Some questions come to my mind, such as: there were two police guards and a Kalash gentleman in the building with the Greek teacher at the time of abduction. Both the security guards had weapons. On seeing a group of men coming in, one of the guards managed to run towards a police post located a kilometre or so away. The second guard and the Kalash were taken hostage.

From the museum, they did not take the road towards the last Nurastani village in Bumboret as there are a number of hotels and the scouts’ guesthouse on it. Right across the museum they crossed the stream some 100 yards away, killed the guard and tied the Kalash attendant near the bridge. This indicates that they were going towards Birir. But if they went towards Utak pass then after the bridge they went up along the right bank of the stream to the Nurastani village near the fisheries hut at Bumboret.

Why did the second police guard not raise a cry or fire in the air? Thirteen people walking through a village for an hour would create a racket when they constantly had to find a track to walk on. Also note that there is no proper track on the right side of the stream. At two am no foreigner can do it without local help (ask a policeman from Chitral to do it during the day and he will lose his way a few times before coming back on the track). This proves that local help from villagers in Bumboret was definitely provided.

The distance between the museum and Nuristani village fisheries in Bumboret should approximately take over an hour to cover, and from the Nuristani village to the Chitral scouts’ post should take at least two hours. Beyond the scouts’ post to the pass, it should take approximately three hours. At night it would take more time. If they took this route they would be at the scouts’ post at six am. Have the security people retraced this area to see possibilities of any clues? This should be investigated by local authorities.

The scouts’ border post (which is supposed to have eight people) has usually only two men on duty. The rest are shown in attendance, but are nearly always missing. The government will now show efficiency by giving an escort to all foreigners visiting the area. That’s mere stupidity. What did the Greek escort do? These guys could have easily been caught if the police, scouts, and the host of other security agencies had taken their jobs seriously. Security people at posts are not properly trained to react in such a situation. This Greek gentleman has done a lot for Chitral — we owe it to him to make a proper effort to trace him out — alive.

A Chitrali,
(The News-Newspost)

12 Sep 09.

Kidnapping of Greek volunteer -letter

(Pakistanis -Children of a lesser God)

This is with reference to the news item regarding kidnap of a Greek volunteer from Kafristan. It is thought-provoking how much importance the national media has given to this incident. Newspapers are blazing headlines about the kidnap but the fact that his escort, a Chitrali, was beaten to death with gun butts by the attackers, is published as an ‘also’ news.

Not that the Greek gentleman deserves any less sympathy. Every Chitrali regrets the event and wishes for his safe retrieval, but the lost life of his Pakistani guard is (or should be) equally important to be mentioned by the newspapers.

Quoting a recent incident, a bridge in Mastuj broke down twice in one month killing innocent people each time. I personally consider such a news to be more important than the kidnap of an individual. Had it happened in a country with respect for lives of its citizens it would have created a furor in the media, but here it was printed as a routine news.

We, unfortunately, as a nation have lost our self respect and consider ourselves children of a lesser God when compared with any white skinned foreigner,specially with someone giving us AID or financial assistance.

We can only revert to rational thinking if we put to rest the begging bowl we hold so high in esteem -even higher than our national pride.

Faridul Haq,

Chitral.

12 Sep 09.

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