Chitral: More than 200 people suffer due to food poisoning after wedding feast

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Chitral: Emergency has been declared in a hospital in the remote Drosh Valley of Chitral district, KPK. More than two hundred people, including women and children, have been rushed to the emergency ward because of food poisoning caused by a wedding feast.

The patients are reportedly vomiting and also suffering due to loose motion (diarrhea).

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Local reporters are saying that the hospital in the region does not have the capacity to handle such a large number of patients. Some of the people brought to the hospital have been sent home after first aid, said a reporter based in Chitral.

This is a developing story. More details will be added.

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Pakistan captures one Indian soldier at LoC, several others killed

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MUZAFFARABAD: An Indian soldier has been captured by the Pakistan army, while Indian soldiers have also been killed in the episode of firing across the Line of Control, it emerged Thursday.

Confusion over the capture of the soldier persists as neither Indian nor Pakistani officials are issuing any official statements on the matter, as yet.

An Indian army official based in New Delhi said, “It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control”.

Avoiding connecting the capture to today’s firing incident, he said such incidents of people including civilians crossing the frontier by mistake have happened in the past from both sides.

Building a case in favour of India, he added that those who strayed are returned.

“Pakistan has been informed [of the soldier’s crossing] through the DGMO on hotline,” ANI News quoted Indian Army sources as saying.

On Pakistan’s side, two officials based in Chhamb sector said the Indian soldier with weapons was captured at 1330 local time on Thursday.

Separately, security sources confirmed the same to Dawn.com. The sources said a 22-year-old Indian soldier by the name Chandu Babulal Chohan was taken into custody by Pakistani forces.

They added that at least eight Indian soldiers were killed. The bodies of the Indian soldiers have not been recovered by the Indian Army from the site of the skirmishes at the LoC. Security sources claim an attempt to recover the bodies by the Indian Army has not been made yet as they fear coming under fire from Pakistan Army troops.

In his show Capital Talk on Geo News, Hamid Mir said that 14 Indian soldiers were killed in two sectors. Defense analyst Major General (Retd) Ijaz Awan, who was on his show, confirmed his claim.

Early morning firing

Exposing Indian Fake Attack

An exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian LoC troops began at 2:30am and continued till 8:00am in the Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel and Lipa sectors in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the ISPR statement said.

“Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC.”

Shortly after the exchange of fire, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence held a joint press conference in New Delhi in which DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh alleged that surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian army on “terror launch pads along the LoC”. The strikes will not continue, he said.

The Indian DGMO claimed that “some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launchpads along the Line of Control”.

“The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launchpads. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them… The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased.”

Pakistan rubbished the Indian claims of conducting a surgical strike.

“The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects,” a military statement said.

“This quest by the Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as a surgical strike is fabrication of the truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, the same will be strongly responded.”

Also read: What is a ‘surgical strike’?

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said Pakistan’s airspace would be safeguarded at any cost. “PAF is always alert and ready to issue a befitting response to foreign aggression,” a spokesperson said.

Faces of Kalasha a photo exhibition by UNESCO and Norwegian Embassy to highlight the Kalasha culture.

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 27 (IN): “Faces of Kalash”, a photographic show featuring glimpses of life and cultural heritage of Kalash valley was put on display here Tuesday.

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The event was jointly organized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Norwegian Embassy at Satrang Art Gallery to showcase the photographs captured in 1929 by Georg Morgrnstierne, a Norwegian linguistics professor who visited the region and documented the culture of Kalash extensively.

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UNESCO representative to Pakistan, Vibeke Jensen highlighted the urgent need for safeguarding the unique culture of the Kalash people.

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Ambassador of Norwegian Embassy, Torr Nedrebo commended UNESCO’s efforts to support the exhibition and highlighted the achievements of the photographer who captured and documented the life of Kalash people.

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Secretary to ministry of national heritage and integration Mr. Kawani also spoke on the occasion. He emphasis to preserve the unique culture of Kalasha  people. Joint secretary Mr. Mashood Ahmad Mirza was also present on the occasion. The honourable secretary said that by next year the concern ministry will be submitting dossier for the inscription of Kalasha culture on world heritage list as per 2003 convention for safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

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Representing Kalasha community Mr. Luke Rehmat highlighted the Kalasha culture, festivals, history and issues of Kalasha peoples. He urged government and international community to come forward to take serious step to protect Kalasha culture. He asked government to prepare some good steps and also emphasis to provide legal protections and submission of dossier to UNESCO as earlier possible.

BBC Urdu live coverage of the exhibition
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Youhana Kalash, Parwana Jan Kalash and Rumi Khan Kalash were also participated the exhibition.

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The photo exhibition will continue for a week . People can visit the venue at Sereena hotel (Satrang Art Gallery)

 

Pak Army organized Independence Day in Kalash valley

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Kalasha Desh 14 August, independence day celebrated with national zeal. The mega event ‘Happy Independence Day’’ and the 70th birthday of the country was organized by Pak Army in collaboration with local residences.

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Mr.Wazir Zada receiving shield from Pak Army. 

People were seen very emotional on the 70th birthday, Kalasha valleys a home to unique culture, people and landscape always remained attractions for many.

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Elders were seen very happy on the occasion

School children presented speeches, drama on Martyred of Army Public School, APS Peshawar. They also presented national songs and speech in different languages such Kalashamondr, Khowar, Tstromamondr (Nuristani), English and Urdu.

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Kalasha students presenting national song on Urdu and Kalashamondr

They students highlighted potentials, and sacrifices of people for the cause of Pakistan. In their speeches they urged youth to play their role for better Pakistan.

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On the precious occasion large number of local people were gathered at a school to pay tribute to the heroes of Pakistan.

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The open air function was echoing with ‘long live Pakistan’, children, woman and students along security forces all together celebrated the independence and offered pray for peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.

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Mr. Wazir Zada speaking on the occasion highlighted the values and importance of peace in the region, he appreciated the cooperation of local residence to sustain Kalasha culture throughout the long journey.

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Number of people spoke on the occasion including Mr. Zahid Alam, Mr. Ayub Khan and Ms. Shahi Gul.

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Strengthening languages in the Hindukush Region

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Islamabad 12 August 2016: A five days Collaborative Language Research Workshop held at Forum for Language Initiative, FLI Islamabad. Explaining the goal of the workshop Professor Dr. Henrik Liljegren said that ‘’the goal is to produce a linguistic profile of the languages of the Hindukush Region, an area comprising the mountainous north-eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and the northern-most part of Kashmir. The region is characterized by linguistic diversity (ab. 50 languages, incl. Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, Tibeto-Burman, Turkic and the isolate Burushaski) and a high level of multilingualism’’.

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Dr. Henrik said that ‘’we have already organized five days similar workshop for thirteen languages last year and it is continuation of the same project to get more details of the languages spoken in aforesaid Region’’.

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FLI is a place for training and resource centre working to enable the language communities of northern Pakistan to preserve and promote their mother tongues.

The language of the Kalasha is a sub-branch of the Indo-Aryan group, itself part of the larger Indo-European family. It is classified as a member of the Chitral sub-group, the only other member of that group being Khowar.

Norwegian Linguist Georg Morgenstierne believes that in spite of similarities, Kalasha is an independent language in its own right.

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Apart from research per se, Dr.Henrik Liljegren is engaged in revitalization efforts (orthography and local literature development, mother-tongue literacy, etc.), mentoring language activists from various communities to collect and organize data, and in building networks between local communities and organizations

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The following language community were part of the five days’ workshop and contributed to collaborative research Dr. Muhammad Kamal Khan (Pashto), Dr. Khawaja Rehman (Kashmiri), Ms. Uzma Anjum (pothwari), Mr. Luke Rehmat (Kalashamondr), Mr. Raja Hasrat (Hinko), Mr. Shahid Rehman (Gojri), Dr. Muhammad Nawaz (Hinko) and Mr. Ghulam (Kundashahi).

On the conclusion day Mr. Fakhruddin Akhunzada emphasis on linguistic community to come forward to play their role. He said that ‘’you’re the people who understands the importance of mother tongue education and value of language and culture diversity, and you need to take lead role to preserve the small languages from extinction’’

The participants appreciated efforts of FLI and Dr. Henrik to bring them together for the wonderful initiative. They asked concerns to organized more such training workshops.

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Dr. Kamal invited Professor Henrik to Shahid Benazir Butto University to organize such informative workshop in his campus to reach more students and mobilize their energy for the preservation of minor languages in the Hindukush Region.

Shocking Images of Terrorist Gun downed by Security Forces in Kalasha valley

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Image released of terrorist killed by Pak Army on Tuesday night at Ghonabata Mumuret

Kalasha Desh 03 August. Security forces taken ‪#‎revenged‬ and provided some relief to the mourning families. Five‪ #‎Afghan‬ militants were killed in security forces operation at ‪#‎Ghonabata ‬(Shawal pass) Tuesday night.

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Weapons recovered from the terrorist on Tuesday night.

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Terrorist killed by Pak Army, long beared militants were killed after long exchanges of firing between security forces and terrorist on Tuesday night at #Ghonabata Mumuret. According to sources Pak Army responded to intelligence report of terrorist entering to Pak territory from Afghan side through Shawal pass. 

The security forces immediately responded and successfully killed five out of ten terrorist and there is report about minor injuries of army personal during the operation.

During the recent visit of General Officer Commanding, GoC, Maj. General Asif Gafoor and his meeting with Muslim and Kalasha community, he assured both communities to take serious action against the culprits and ordered Pak Army to tackle terrorist with full force and finally Army in action and killed five terrorist  on Tuesday night. 

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On Wednesday morning commandant Chitral scouts Col. Nizam Udin Shah met with local residents and shared the news that we had revenged the murder of shepherds and killed five terrorist. The residents of both communities shared their gratitude to Pak Army, Chitral Scouts, Police and Levis for their timely response to ensured peace in the region and given clear message to militants across the border.

Meanwhile sources had conformed that the dead bodies have been transferred to District Head Quarter Hospital Chitral for post-mortem.

A valley in mourning: Kalash tribe fears for survival after recent attacks

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CHITRAL: Still reeling from the brutal slaying of two of its people, the Kalash tribe, known to keep to itself, has urged the government step up to the plate and ensure the security of its people.

Apart from an emotional toll, the farmers have also taken an economic blow as hundreds of their livestock were stolen allegedly by militants from across the border in Afghanistan.

“The only livelihood and source of income we have is through agriculture and our livestock,” said Baaghi Gul, the sister-in-law of slain farmer Noor Ahmed. “If that too is taken away, what are we left with?” she questioned.

Her brother was among the two men slaughtered in Charagah, Bahbaret in Upper Chitral.

Ahmed’s nephew, an eyewitness, said he would also have been killed too had he not managed to escape from a hole created by water flowing through a glacier.

Talking about that brutal incident, the 16-year-old boy told The Express Tribune he and his uncles were sleeping near the animals. He added Ahmed woke up at around 5am to milk the goats when the attack took place. Ahmed called out to him, telling the boy not to come any closer as there was danger.

The teenager recalled he and his other uncle grabbed their lone pistol and ventured out, only to see Ahmed getting cut down by machinegun fire. When the assailants turned their attention to the boy, he managed to narrowly escape with his life.

The victim’s house, in mourning over the death caused by Friday morning’s attack, had an old man sitting inside—Ahmed’s father. The man was beside himself and found it difficult to overcome the grief caused by his son’s murder.

In a corner of the room of the house sat Ahmed’s wife, draped in a black chador as is customary for a Kalash widows. She has to remain in this state for seven days after the death and cannot attend any ceremony for five months. Besides her, Ahmed is survived by nine children. Three days before the attack, locals said they had seen suspicious people in the area.

This is the second such incident being mourned by the family in just a few years. Around two years ago, Ahmed’s cousin’s son was also killed and at least 500 of his goats were taken away.

Residents of the Kalash valleys believed it was just the people of their community being targeted, adding the livestock of Muslims was also present in the area.

It is not just the locals who are targeted, but also those working for their well-being. Athanassios Lerounis, a Greek volunteer, was working in the valleys a few years ago. He had, among other things, constructed a school, a museum and a place for Kalash women to wash their clothes and perform other chores. However, he was abducted in 2010. After much effort and negotiations, he was released in 2011 and later left Chitral due to the obvious threat to his security.

Another foreigner, a Spaniard called Jordi, was also killed, said a minority councillor in the valleys. She said Jiordi had been living in the valleys for some time before he was killed in 2002. A boy from Birir, living with him as a helper, was also slain. Under such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the Kalash community fears for its safety and ultimate survival.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2016.

Security forces kill 5 militants in Kalash shootout

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KALASHA DESH: (Online)  Five militants were killed on Wednesday in a shootout with security forces in Chitral’s Kalash valley at Ghonabata high pasture, sources said.

According to sources, militants opened fire on security forces in Chitral’s Astoi area, upon which the security forces retaliated to thwart the onslaught.  

The dead bodies of the slain militants were shifted to Bamburet hospital, sources added.

On Sunday, militants had opened fire on local shepherds which had killed two shepherds in the same area.

The sources had said that two Kalash shepherds were grazing sheep in Ghari, when they were attacked by a group of 30 militants who crossed over to Pakistan from Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

The shepherds reportedly had opened fire on the militants and the exchange of firing took place for a long time. However, the shepherds had run out of ammunition and were overpowered by the militants.

Militants had taken more than 400 goats with them. Villagers had found the throat-cut bodies of the shepherds near the border area. The sources had said the militants were heavily armed. The police and personnel of the Chitral Levies and other law-enforcement agencies had rushed to the area after the incident.

In wake of the Sunday’s incident, a former Member National Assembly (MNA) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali had asked the government to ensure border security to avoid similar incidents.

He had asked the government to recruit at least 300 more border police personnel, particularly from the Kalash tribe, for deployment along the border with Afghanistan to secure the borders and protect the Kalash people.

Senator questions lack of security on Kalash valley border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Samina Abid on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of two Kalash shepherds and theft of thousands of their goats by Nooristasn-based Afghan militants.

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In a statement issued here, she questioned the failure of the Chitral police as well as the paramilitary personal deployed at the border in tracking down the militants. “If this is the performance of our police and the paramilitary force, what’s the use of their deployment there,” she regretted.
Senator Samina said she would take up the issue in the upcoming session of the Senate, adding all those involved in the negligence, especially the Chitral police, which failed to protect the life and property of the Kalash community, would be discussed in the upper house of parliament.
“I don’t know why the police are taking these poor Kalash people so lightly….aren’t they citizens of Pakistan, and if needed I’ll also move a calling attention notice in Senate so that the issue for providing security to Kalash will be discussed in detail to make their security foolproof,” she added.

Future of Kalasha people, a big question mark?

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Mother of late Noor Ahmad mourning, photo taken once the dead bodies were reaching the temple Jestak Hand at Kraka’

Kalasha Desh 30 July 2016, the ancient living civilization, culture and unique traditions of Kalasha community are on the verge of extinction for last many years. But the increasing incidents in recent few years have been mark a big question on the role of law enforcement agencies in the District Chitral. Kalasha people are counting around 4100 living in three v-shaped valleys of District Chitral (Mumuret, Rukmu and Biriu). They are living here since 327 B.C and are the original inhabitant of Chitral area. The small community was once ruled Chitral to Asmar in Afghanistan.

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Mayor a Kalasha kid watching her closed relative shoot by militants, dead bodies taking inside the Jestak Hand 

It was 29 July around 4-5 A.M when a group of militants attacked on shepherds at Bahol’aret high pasture and shoot two shepherds on the spot. Noor Ahmad was shoot on the face at the right hand-side while his fellow shepherd Khush Wali was shoot at chest and stomach. When the militants attacked, there were four shepherds, two have been successfully escaped, interestingly the escaped shepherds are belonging to converted family and they were safe, isn’t it seems something wrong? Why Kalasha shepherds and livestock were only targeted? On the same day militants snatched away hundreds of goats at high pasture in Biriu valley, but shepherds remained safe. It doesn’t stops here, two more valleys Rukmu and Acu’hagha were also under threat and shepherd were informed presence of militants in aforesaid areas as well.

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There were news about movement of militants on the border since last month, and the last week was given clear threat to the community and large number of security forces were deployed, but where they were deployed? A local shepherd informed all security forces just three days prior to the attacked, why the Pak territory was given free zone for the militants’ movement and living there? Who are responsible for security laps? There wasn’t single resistances from security forces, isn’t they failed to manage the border security matters? The attacked happened just two kilometres away from security check post.

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Lady Health visitor and proud daughter of Kalasha people, couldn’t watch the brutal murder of her relatives and cry out.

The same place was targeted in 2012, one shepherd was slaughtered and seven hundreds goats including sheep were snatched away and taken to other side of the border Nuristan.

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Daughter and sister of late Noor Ahmad and closed relatives of late Khush Wali in mourning inside the temple 

The Shawal pass was also used to kidnap the Greek-volunteer in 2009, he was kidnapped from Kalasha Dur that is located at the centre of Mumuret valley, and his police guard was killed, and there wasn’t any success story to say about it. Militants were taken him through the villages and front of the security checkpoints, but there was no order to tackle the militants. He was kept in Nuristan for seven months and then after giving ransoms he was released.

Same happened this time no orders from high-ups? Because there was a threat to the helpless tiny minority and there wasn’t any risk to the so called VVIPS!!! Where is the national action plan when it comes to the most peaceful and beautiful part of the country?

Every time the Kalasha people hear that all security forces are there for their protections, when the time comes it goes opposite, and left the community disappointed in every incident.

On 16 June 2016 a clash on Kalasha people left many people injured, the mobs created uncertain situation in Mumuret valley, although it was minor issue for the majority people living in the area. The incident increased disparities among the Kalasha People. After days passed there wasn’t any action and FIR on the mob that was caused clashes. Every time Kalasha people had been informed about engagement of third party after clash, isn’t it clear from the recent attacked on the community? Now there shouldn’t be any confusion about the third party rumours.

Today was the saddest day for the Kalasha people of Chitral, KP Pakistan. As first time there was not full flagged funeral rituals and dead bodies were just kept inside the temple for a night and women and men were mourned and buried without completing the traditions earlier this morning. When asked from elders they said, it happened because we are helpless and we felt only way to record our peaceful protest. Stopping rituals and beating drums…what message it convey? Why they were thought to not perform certain rituals? Isn’t it fears of another attack?

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Shawal Pass is a home of militants groups, in winter it closed due to heavy snowfall.

A young woman died of heart failure/BBC silent-forever

Kalash Desh 16 July, A young woman and mother of five children took last breath at Peshawar hospital on 16 July and couldn’t sustained her life at the age of 24 years , according to her family sources she felt chest pain three days ago and brought to District Headquarter Hospital Chitral which is located at a distances of 43 kilometres from her village Anish at Kalasha valley Mumuret, (It is also important to mentioned here that District Chitral lacks medial facilities and therefore, there are no MRI and CT scan facilities in the town and the patients usually refers to Peshawar, it locates at a distances of 400 kilometres from Chitral town, that is rough and tiring journey indeed) ,after initial medical check-up, she was referred to Peshawar immediately. It was 16 July evening when she died in a hospital at Peshawar, it has been said that she had heart failure.

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Inspired by BBC (British Broadcasting Company, her parents named her BBC, later in school her named was written in local style as BIBI C. She married in teenage to Shakeel Ahmad from her village and gave birth to five children, her elder son Saif Ali Khan is disabled, and three daughters are healthy, she gave birth to a baby boy three months ago but unfortunately she couldn’t feed him anymore and left her children orphaned. 

Born to a family of ex.councillor of Sher Mohammad Khan a well known figure in Kalasha valleys, since there was no television in the valleys long ago and BBC Urdu was main source of information through radio that inspired him to named one of his child as BBC.

She was a good human being and she had worked for her community as post-woman as her father-in-law is serving postman and she was educated in the family therefore helping her family to sort out parcel for distribution in Kalasha valley north-western part of Khyber Pakhtankhawa.

The mountain people are well exercised in daily life, but last few decades have been witness increase of heart failure and related diseases.

Funeral rituals are in progress where large number of people from three Kalasha valleys are gathered to see off her.

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Deceased will be buried on 18 July as per the Kalasha tradition of burial in her ancestral graveyard at Brun village. 

May Dezau (The Creator help her soul rest in peace at Behes’t’)