Breaking News: Government of Pakistan finally accepts Kalasha as separate identity

Kalash, Feb 21. After a three-year struggle, the government of Pakistan has finally accepted Kalasha as a separate religion in the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and addressed the concerns first raised in Chitral.

The issue for the Kalasha was first identified in 2012. Kalash youth raised awareness of the problem and a number of efforts followed. Founder & CEO of Kalash People’s Development Network and Editor-in-Chief of The Kalasha Times, Luke Rehmat immediately took up the issue seriously. Several times, he met in Islamabad to address the concerns of the Kalasha, trying his best to gain support from the authorities. However, due to some technical problems in the Pakistani constitution as per 1973, this was delayed and the way forward was not an easy one for the minority group.

Very soon, an online campaign was started on http://www.thekalashatimes.com, and an offline campaign collected all evidence from local sources. The efforts on the ground, in the form of a signature campaign within the community and briefing sessions with community elders, concluded with the determination to take up the issue at every platform.
In Feb 2013, all requested data was compiled and submitted to the Ministry of Interior, NADRA Headquarters in Islamabad, and the district commissioner office in Chitral.
The issue was taken up on local and national media following visits at both levels. The efforts remained active during these periods of time. During the general election of 2013, the Kalasha announced boycotts of the upcoming vote in Pakistan due to a number of reasons—the leading being the identity issue.

The political parties in Chitral, especially PTI, called a conference to end the boycott with all parties agreeing to solve the issue once they came into power. But it remained as it was. No one spared the time to resolve the issue once they had been elected.
A number of Kalasha youth activists contributed to the cause in their capacity including Wazir Zada, Sayed Gul, Shamin, Gul Nazar, Subhan uddin, Zarin Khan, Akram Hussian, Unath Baig, Yasir, Sikandar Ghulam, Bakhtawar Shah, Sher Khan, Taj Khan, Talim Khan, Said Ahmad, Sohail Khan, Nasir Uddin, JR Din, Zardari Khan, Feroz Shah, Amir Mehmood, and many others. In 2015, we were finally accepted as a separate religion and identity in Pakistan. It was good news for everyone, and the Kalasha people now seem very happy with their recognition.

The community was facing many problems as the religion check-box was not an option for Kalasha on many documents. On the birth certificate, they were forced to tick Buddhist as there was no other option for Kalasha.

We appreciate the assistance provided by the following people and departments: the Ministry of Interior, NADRA HQ and NRC Chitral, Deputy Commissioner of Chitral Mr. Rehmat Ullah Wazir and his team member Mr. Zahir Shah along with media people such as Zahir uddin, Mukham uddin, GH Farooqi Sana Jamal Manzor Ali, Farhan Dogar, Hashma Nawaz, and DW Baig.  Thank you also to all those who have signed the online petition from around the world as well as those who have morally contributed to the genuine cause and encouraged our small ethnic group to obtain their basic right of identity.

Birth Certificate Conformation of acceptance as Kalasha on NADRA form District Commissioner Letter to NRC Luke Letter to NADRA Chairman Ministry of Minorities 2008 Nadra form Offline campagin Online Campaign (1) Online Campaign (2) Online Campaign (3)

Open letter to government of Pakistan

DVR_ch13_main_20150130203600_20150130210000.dav_2015_01_31_00_27_01

My name is Luke Rehmat I am patriotic Pakistani since my birth. I never came from any place I am member of Indigenous peoples of Kalash community. The only aboriginal community declared by UN-ECOSOC convention. I feel insecure every day. I doesn’t fear that someone will kill me, because I believe I have been created for a specific purpose in the world, I believe whatever would be cause of my death that would be written for me when I was created. I know that no one have authority to kill and create human like me except my Creator (Dezau). I do not fear about the consequences because I have strong determination and there is no hidden agenda in my Life except working for the survival of my culture and wellbeing of humanity.

I am really confused who I am in front of the world, my state has been forced me to die being a religion, being a culture, being a tradition and being an indigenous community. All official documents have been indicated difference for me that created confusion and disparity inside me and the 4000 small community of Kalash. In some papers it’s mentioned as others, while on birth certificate we forced to show Budhist, I have been informed higher-ups serval times since last two years but no one seems interested to solve my problem.

I feel insecure because my existence being an indigenous community never accepted by Government of Pakistan. The fear becomes reality when I and my Kalash delegations looted in Lahore by uniform people on 30 Jan 2015 upon our arrival in Lahore. That was not incident it was pre-planned by state.

There were other ways to stop the delegation to go for the conference as we were staying in Islamabad for more than 10 days. We are not terrorist we did nothing wrong, all process were coordination with line departments wether in Islamabad or abroad.

But I am confused that where are my basic rights? I am confused of state miss handling small things and forcing me to break the silence. I confused because I always fought for better Pakistan and in return I have been attacked up arrival and my delegates were looted. I confused because I have been victim of injustice.

I unable to understand the logic behind attacked on Kalasha delegation, my heart has been broken in front of the inhuman behaviour, it’s not new in a place where I am stranger it wouldn’t have happened but It has created so many question and fears for survival. I confused all fails when it comes to state own terrorism. We were stopped on gun points, I had urged all delegates to cooperate with police we didn’t showed any resistance otherwise they could have been shoot us.

At the end I would like to thank all those who condemned this barbarism and remembered us in their prayers.

What was my fault I was leading delegation to represent Pakistan at an International Conference and gathering of elders that isn’t my basic rights?

I am leaving here some question for government of my country:

1. Why passport is issuing to Kalash peoples? If they don’t have any right to visit with it…

2. Why we are forcefully stopped on gun point although we haven’t done anything wrong in long history and world knows us a peaceful community…

3. Who will be responsible of financial and mental tortures we have been victim.

4. Where we can take our pleas/grievance

5. Why we don’t have political space since birth of the country? While other minorities have been elected in assemblies where legislators make certain laws for their protection..

6. Billons could be spending on national parks; shrines could be inscribed on world heritage sites but no funds for Kalasha as UN world heritage side but why?

7. I fear a clear discrimination in all sectors and I would like to request concerns to take the case seriously with guns and kills that couldn’t seems right way to solve issues, otherwise terrorist have been success in their mission. So think differently and solve our issues and eliminate our fears and confusions!!

IGP fulfilled his promise to recruit 20 Kalasha in Special Force

sp (3)

Kalash Valley June 13: On 05 June IGP KPK Mr. Nasir Khan Durani visited Kalash valley, he had been met Kalasha community and promised to recruit 20 Kalasha people in special force. To fulfill the promised on 13 June Ghulam Hussain DPO Chitral Murad Khan and his fellow officers came to Police Rest House Mumuret to recruiting young boys and girls belonging to Kalasha community. 06 girls and 04 boys have been recruited from Kalash valley Mumuret namely, Khunza bibi Bilour, Thachar, Paisa bibi, Jameeda , Parsal Khan, Zaina, Zumaira , Aganzai, Sher Mohd Din and Alamgir, those selected from Kalash valley Biriu are Gulab Gul, Shaheen taj, Ubaidur Rehmat and Noor Mohd while from Rukmu valley the following people have been selected Arika bibi, Fatima Bibi, Fariyar, Ghulam Dan and Ali Zar. According sources Obidur Rehman was only one selected from Kalasha converted family the rest of 19 have been selected from Kalasha community

Check Out The Kalasha Times Annual Report 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ayun valley got DSL internet facilities

Ayun 19 Oct: Ayun valley facilitated with DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) high speed internet. Source told the The Kalasha Times that connections have been distributed to PTCL’s existing subscribers today.

Ayun valley is a gateway to Kalash valleys and it’s expected that PTCL would expend the DSL service to Kalash valleys soon. The Kalasha valleys are famous tourist destination and there are internet users as well but due to poor quality internet dial up subscribers are in trouble.