Friday, August 29, 2008

Culture's role in treatment of new mothers

Cultural practices and beliefs provide a sense of security for mothers in the aftermath of child birth in many rural areas.



According to a study conducted by Sharifa Mir of Chitral, new mothers are kept separately for some time to have less interaction with the family members. Soon after delivery, the sex of the baby is not shared with the mother because, if the baby's sex is in contrast to her expectations, there might be a number of complications, including retention of placenta. If the placenta is retained, snuff is given to the mother to inhale which induces sneezing leading to abrupt separation of the placenta.



Sometimes it leads to postpartum hemorrhage which could be fatal. In Kalash culture, women are kept in separate buildings called Bashalini (labour room) for three weeks after delivery and there is no interaction with other family members including the husband except with one woman.



Among Muslims, the concept of placing taweez and thread on the arm or around the neck is prevalent to prevent evil eye. Burning holy incense prepared from the seeds of special plants giving aromatic smoke and holding a baby in the smoke is commonly practised. Moreover, in newborn, a small incision is made between the eyebrows in order to prevent eye infections. Such surgical procedures end up in further complication like infection and scar formation.



The concept of personal hygiene also differs from culture to culture. Among Muslims, mothers avoid taking baths and shampooing hair during the first week of postnatal period as it is believed that it will increase bleeding. However, in Kalash culture, bathing is prohibited for 40 days. In both the cultures, mothers use cow dung in a form of perineal pack in order to absorb bleeding and enable them to regain the heat that they lost during delivery.



Cow dung is also used for newborn to absorb urine and stool. To treat and prevent urinary tract infections in neonates, they burn a tiny area on symphysispubis and that material is prepared by a thin layer of special plant. Application of ghee and matti (burnt walnut) on the umbilical stump is common and it is believed that it will promote early healing.



All these practices lead to neonatal tetanus (NNT). A study conducted in Africa found that annually 80 percent of NNT deaths were caused by application of cow dung to the umbilical stump and had dropped to 0-3/1000 births in intervention areas compared to 80/1000 in control areas. Statistics show that in Pakistan, 26,400 neonatal deaths are caused by NNT. Applications of ghee to the umbilical stump have been identified as risk factors in the Northern Areas.



Cultural norms also have an impact on dietary practices and to restore energy postnatal women consume high calorie diet. The concept of certain foods being `hot' and `cold' dominantly exists. In both cultures hot food is advised because they are believed to make blood thick leading to a steady flow. Wheat, milk and animal products are given alternatively to the mother. In contrast, cold foods are restricted such as chilies and bitter things are believed to make the blood thin and can increase bleeding.



Colostrums is not encouraged because it is considered old, dirty and stale can cause diarrhoea or vomiting in newborn. Some initiate first feed by giving butter and honey (ghutti) to the newborn. In contrast, Kalash people initiate breastfeeding and strongly believe that colustrum provides energy to the baby.

Cultural concepts relating to postnatal care in context of health beliefs, hygiene care and dietary practice vary from culture to culture. Becoming aware of these differences is one of the greatest challenges today for a health professional to become an effective provider of health services.

Infant mortality rate cut in Chitral

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

The infant mortality rate in the district has been reduced from 57 to 38 per thousand while the maternal mortality rate plunged to 100 per 100,000 during the last eleven years, a source in the health department told this correspondent on Friday.
The national programme for family planning and primary healthcare was launched in Chitral in 1995. “It has rendered tremendous services to the people as a result health indicators in Chitral have improved,” he claimed, adding that to control the population explosion in the district, the contraceptive prevalence rate had been increased by 18 per cent over the period.
The primary healthcare consisted maternal child healthcare, education on sanitation and better nutrition and treatment of minor ailments. He said that in the 24 union councils of the district, 466 lady health workers were serving the people being available round-the-clock, supervised by 20 lady supervisors who had been provided with jeeps.
He said that a health worker covered a population ranging from 700 to 1,000. The pregnant ladies were taken special care of and they were provided iron tablets and other medicines and the health workers visited them periodically and kept record of the health state.
As the health facilities were very limited, he said, so the women folk depended on the programme and derived maximum benefit from it. The health workers were bound to visit a house at least five times a month and educate its members about cleanliness, medication and impart training on preparation of the ORS. He said the programme had also helped the health department to make the national immunisation day success story.

The source said that under the programme, basic drugs were being provided in sufficient quantities by the provincial programme implementation unit and a good volume of drugs was stored in Chitral before the closure of the Lowari Pass in December every year.

The source suggested that the criterion of the ratio of a health worker to population be relaxed due to the fact that the district was sparsely populated. The enhancement of drug quota for the district due to its backwardness would also mitigate the sufferings of the people.



WORKSHOP: The three-day workshop on ‘reporting on women rights’ for media persons under the aegis of the Regional Women Empowerment Project started here.

In the first day, Imtiaz Ahmed and Dr Inayatullah Faizi highlighted the importance of the rights of women with special context of Chitral. Persons both from the electronic and print media attended the workshop in a large number.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Probe against revenue officer urged

CHITRAL: Representatives of 11 village conservation committees of the Chitral Gol National Park have demanded an inquiry against the district revenue officer for allegedly paying compensation money for state land to an individual in violation of rules.
At a meeting held under Mr Mohyuddin here on Wednesday, they said the entire land of the national park, except for 15 acres, belonged to the state as decided by the federal land commission in 1973.
They said the former ruler of the Chitral state had no property in the national park other than the 15 acres on which his summer fort stood. They said when a mobile telephone company erected towers inside the park, the revenue officer violated the rules by paying compensation money to the former ruler.
JI LEADER: District Jamaat-i-Islami president Maulana Ghulam Mohammad has said Mulkhow and Torkhow tehsils of Chitral lack healthcare and education facilities. Talking to journalists after his visit to the tehsils here on Wednesday, he said the government seemed not to be interested in solving problems of people. He said hospitals were being run without doctors, medicines and equipment for diagnosis and schools were without teaching staff.
He said access to health and education facilities was the basis right of the people.
He demanded that the government should remove shortage of staff in schools and hospitals of the area, otherwise the residents would take to the streets.
PROFITEERS: DCO Mutasim Billah Shah has said profiteers will be dealt with an iron hand during Ramazan and no leniency will be shown to those found involved in it.
Speaking at a meeting of the district price control committee here on Wednesday, he said a comprehensive system had been evolved to control price hike.
He asked price magistrates to submit reports on price control activities on daily basis so that provision of commodities of daily use could be ensured at controlled rates. The DCO asked consumers to extend cooperation to the administration by reporting to it names of profiteers.
Officials of revenue and food departments, president of the local traders’ union and representatives of other bodies attended the meeting.

PML-Q MNA Mohiuddin joins PPP

Report Zar Alam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) MNA from Chitral Shahzada Mohiuddin has said he has decided to join the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the best interest of his constituency which remains the most neglected district of the country.

He said his decision would usher in a new era of development and progress in the area.

Mr Mohiuddin returned from NA-32 Chitral in the February 18 elections on the ticket of the PML-Q. During the election campaign, he urged the people of Chitral to vote for Pervez Musharraf for launching mega projects in the district including the Rs9 billion Lowari rail tunnel.

However, talking to this correspondent on Tuesday, he said after Musharraf’s ouster his stay in the PML-Q would not be in the interest of his area, adding Chaudhrys of Punjab have no political presence in the area. “Had Musharraf remained in the political scene even without the political support of any party I would have continued supporting him,” he added.

He said funds were needed to start new development schemes and to complete a number of ongoing projects launched by the former president in the area. “Therefore, people of my constituency have asked me to support the government as by sitting in the opposition I would not be able to complete the ongoing projects and launch new ones,” he added.

He said PPP workers and activists in Chitral also welcomed his decision to join the party. He said he had strong vote bank in the valley and since 1985 he had been elected twice chairman district council, once district nazim and four time member National Assembly.

“The area has also been a stronghold of the PPP but due to lack of leadership the party has been losing ground and my joining of the party would strengthen it at the grassroots level,” he added.

Few conversions in Kalash

By Maureen Lines


MY charity’s website brings me some fascinating emails. A month or so ago, there was one from a couple of American journalists. They wanted to come and visit the Kalash valleys. They wished to do a story on the Kalash, preferably about their being in a Muslim-dominated land.

The questions they asked left little doubt that they were going to make the Kalash out to be vulnerable in a Muslim world. They came with preconceived ideas that I did not endorse. After a number of emails, they suddenly disappeared. Perhaps visiting the Kalash valleys had lost their magic.

The other day I received an email from the chairman of my trustees. A journalist friend from the Daily Telegraph had contacted him, wanting to do an article on the Kalash. As we are always looking for funds to stock our dispensaries, our chairman had immediately given him my contact numbers.

I immediately called the journalist. The English accent was full of enthusiasm. Within seconds he was saying: “Now what about this conversion problem?”

When I said there was no wholesale conversion, only a few cases a year, his crestfallen voice petered out. I told him there were some good stories up there, and I could facilitate his visit. He said his editor would not be interested.

The first thing I heard about religion came from my grandfather. Maybe I was five or 10, I do not recall. But I remember vividly his words: all wars, one way or another, are fought in the name of religion. During the First World War, being a conscientious objector, he had joined up as a medical worker and spent the war in the trenches as a stretcher bearer.

His words were uttered some 60 years ago. Nothing has changed in our civilised world. So much misunderstanding exists in the world today, much of it due to propaganda and the corporate media of the West. On the other hand, thanks to the Internet, civil society is becoming more aware and alert to the nefarious actions and policies of corrupt and aggressive governments.

All of us are born into a certain culture which promotes a certain way of life and thought. None has the right to say that one way of life is better than another. In 1964, I hitchhiked through the Middle East. The spirit with which my entry into Muslim villages and homes was met at that time has had a lasting effect on me.

Universality is the only path to enlightenment. We are all citizens of the world. We need to work together to ease the difficulties of climate change, which is not a myth; it is very real as anyone can see if they ven-

ture into the rural areas of the mountains. In the Kalash valleys, springs are drying up, floods are becoming more common and the winter season is becoming more severe and beginning earlier.

The Kalash valleys lie close to the Durand Line in the north. Religious scholars, adventurers, traders (in Bumburet, the path over the Shawal Pass is part of the old Silk Route) have travelled across rugged mountains since time immemorial. So may have Osama, as he once stayed in a house in Bumburet. I did also in 1998 and 1999.

My travels across Nuristan reminded me of my journey of 1964. I was given the same warnings by good God-fearing Christians about being murdered, raped and so on. As in 1964, I was met with kindness, hospitality and respect.

Being a medical person, I did give some medical aid, but with few drugs, due to limited financial resources; it was nothing compared to what I received.

In Chaga Serai, I met up with a group of Pakistani religious scholars fresh from Saudi Arabia. Although their views were extreme, they extended every courtesy to me. They were bright, charming young men.

On my return from Shiwi, near the front at that time (this was the time of Najibullah), I accidentally landed up in Wahabi hands, the most feared name for westerners in Afghanistan at that time. The Syrian in charge, and the Egyptian I spoke to who headed the centre and was a quiet unassuming, polite man but not overly friendly ( and bore a remarkable resemblance to a well known figure), were just as courteous and hospitable.

Although travellers do come from Taliban areas, I have never seen them try and convert the local Kalash population. I have spent much time in the Nuristani village of Shaikonondai in Rumbur. The people there mind their own business.

In Birir, Muslims outnumber the Kalash; every year, a couple of women marry Muslims; or youngsters are converted by the thought of bettering themselves. In the 28 years I have been there, I have never seen any attempt at wholesale conversion

Madressahs have opened in the area and time alone will tell if that poses a danger to Kalash culture. Hostility and suspicion of another’s religion smack of insult. To seek to find something objectionable in one’s religion is to court enmity and aggression.--Dawn

Truckers demand opening of Chitral-Dir road

CHITRAL: The Truck Drivers Union of Chitral has asked the government to get the Dir-Chitral road opened, which is blockaded by truck drivers from Dir for four days.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, the union president Sharifullah, vice-president Zahir Khan, general secretary Abdur Rehman and others said that the drivers of Dir had blocked the road at Daro Khore on the Dir side on the pretext that they were given lesser share in transportation of goods to and from Chitral.

The truck union leaders recalled that ten years ago drivers from Chitral and Dir clashed here and the consignments of Dir business centers were thrown into the river. But, they added the matter had been settled amicably and the drivers of both the districts got truckloads on equal basis.

They alleged that a local MPA of Upper Dir Anwar Khan, having business interests in Chitral was enticing the Dir drivers to block the road. They complained that the Dir police were doing nothing to open the road.

They feared that the residents of Chitral would face scarcity of daily use items if the road was not opened.

They gave a deadline of four days to the provincial government to solve the problem at the expiry of which they would resort to violent means.-Zahiruddin

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chitral-Peshawar road closed at Lowari

Chitral-Peshawar road is closed for all kinds of vehicular traffic as flash floods triggered by torrential rain swept away five kilometer portion of the road on the Chitral side of Lowari Pass, sources said.
Hundreds of passengers coming to Chitral experienced great difficulty as they had to travel on feet in the flooded area. Sources said that the road may be cleared of debris in a few days.

Compensation sought for festival's cancellation

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

The residents of Boroghil have demanded of the government to compensate them for the losses they incurred as a result of the cancellation of Boroghil festival at the eleventh hour by the government.

Public representatives from the area said they were busy in preparations for the last five months to make the event a great success and spent thousands of rupees.
They said situated at a distance of 250 kilometers from the district headquarters, the area is backward and its residents were very poor where even farming was not possible due to its climatic conditions and high altitude.
They said livestock keeping was the only source of livelihood in the area while the residents of the area had determined to open up their area to the outsiders including foreigners to promote tourism so that new sources on generating income could be explored.

They said the area is abundantly rich in natural beauty and has fabulous sources of attraction for the tourists that is why the federal government had included the festival in the calendar of events of ‘Visit Pakistan Year in 2007.’

The residents said that the festival was also named as the “Yak Festival” as the animal was the only source of income for the local population. Yak polo, yak race, horse polo, buz kashi and cultural show would be the main events at the festival.

They alleged that some hidden forces became active then and the festival was celebrated with a very low profile. They said that this year, the people were determined to make the event a great and impressive event on self-help basis which was to commence from 20th July soon after the Shandur festival, but the government imposed a ban on the festival citing lame excuses.

This time, however, Wetland Project, Pakistan and Chitral Association for Mountainous Areas Tourism (CAMAT), a local NGO of the stakeholders of tourism industry, were jointly sponsoring the festival.

The manager of CAMAT, Shamsuddin said individuals and parties had invested a large sum of money for different stalls in the venue of the festival while its cancellation has caused them irrecoverable loss. He said the ministry of tourism should compensate the individuals, the NGOs and the residents of the area for canceling the festival.

Community school set up in Yarkhun valley of Chitral

Two projects – a 250 KV hydropower station and an intermediate college for boys and girls – have been completed by the local community of Brep, in Yarkhun valley of Chitral, with the financial and technical support of AKDN.

The construction of the hydropower station would meet the entire need of more
than 650 households of Brep and Phashk and Mahting. It is expected that the facility would also be made available to other nearby villages that either do not have or have insufficient electricity of their own. With all these, the project would help reduce poverty and improve the living condition of the people of Brep in Yarkhun valley. The project is funded by PPAF through AKDN (AKRSP) Chitral. The formal inauguration by PPAF, AKDN and government officials is awaited.
The community-established Jubilee Intermediate College for Boys and Girls was inaugurated on August 14, 2008 by Mohammad Wazir Khan, Yarkhun UC Nazim who was chief guest, and retired headmaster of GMS Dizg, Mr Mas Khan who presided over the ceremony. Mr. Liaquat Ali, Chairman Board of Governors, highlighted the need for education and the objectives of the establishment of the college. A large number of parents attended the ceremony and expressed the hope that the new college would go a long way in resolving their education-related problems and promoting education in the area.
In recognition of the valuable services rendered in the field of education for a long time the following two sons of the area awarded with the titles “Teacher of teachers” and “Hero of education” by the Yarkhun Union Council:
Mr. Mas Khan was declared “Teacher of Teachers (Ustadul Usatiza)” and Mr. Liaquat Ali was awarded with the title of “Hero of Education.” They served the community in its needy times and in very difficult days and showed the best results and performance which is remembered now by all.
Mr. Wazir Khan said quality of education can only be improved by reviving the system introduced by Liaquat in the Aga Khan schools and that of Janab Shah in government schools in Chitral. He announced that the required equipment for science lab of the new college would be provided by the UC administration.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Two heroes

This refers to a news item “Zardari as presidential candidate”. No doubt Zardari is a candidate but Pakistan has two heroes to be nominated as presidential candidate. The first is Dr A.Q. Khan who lives in the hearts and souls of 160 million Pakistanis. He will give pride to our nation as our next president. The second hero has emerged out of the candidature of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari. His name is Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. As the next president Mr. Zardari will never restore the judiciary. Therefore, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry will not be restored as Chief Justice. In September 2007, the election commission allowed government servants to contest for public offices while still in service or in uniform. Therefore, I suggest PML(N) and APDM should come up with their own candidates – the two national heroes Dr A.Q. Khan and Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. I do hope one of them will beat the “new face of Musharraf”.

Bashir Hussain Azad
Chitral

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wah blasts: body of Chitrali victim brought home

Chitral Update Report Mastuj

The body of a Pakistan Army jawan hailing from Laspur valley, who was killed in the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) suicide attacks in Wah Cantt on Thursday, was taken to his home village of Balim on Saturday afternoon.

The body was flown to Mastuj in an army helicopter and later driven to the village where it was laid to rest. A large number of people and Chitral Scouts personnel attended the funeral.

800 TB patients detected in Chitral every year

Report GH Farooqui, Chitral

A series of awareness seminars about tuberculosis conducted at Bumborat and Birir of Kalash Valley, Madaglasht concluded at Drosh on Saturday.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Mutasim Billah was chief guest on the occasion while the ceremony was presided over by Sartaj Ahmad Khan, the tehsil nazim of Chitral. The advocacy seminar was organized by provincial TB Control Program and district health department and sponsored by GTZ.
Dr Noorul Islam, District TB Control Officer, said TB affected some 2.5 million people worldwide and 250,000 patients in Pakistan.
He said every year 800 TB patients were detected in Chitral alone. He said TB was declared as Global Emergency by WHO in 1985 while in 2001 it was put on first priority by Pakistan. The government has earmarked Rs1,250 million for eradicating the disease.
Dr.Nekdad Afridi, Shandana Khisro, Azra Ahmad, the EDO health, the DCO, tehsil nazim and Dr Salahuddin of AKHS spoke on the occasion. The speakers asked the public to take precautionary measurement against TB. They lamented that People’s Primary Health Care Initiative (PPHI) had not bothered to participate in the seminars. The speakers urged the government to increase the budget for improving case detection ratio (CDR), adding TB is a curable disease and a patient can completely recover in eight months if he continues his treatment which is free of cost.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Steps urged to reduce losses during disasters

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

Participants of a workshop on Friday stressed the need for putting in place disaster risk management plans at provincial and municipal levels.
The workshop on formulating district disaster management plan was organised by the Pakistan chapter of the Focus Humanitarian Assistance, an international group of agencies established to complement the provision of emergency relief, and was attended by representatives of different civil society organisations.
The participants called for ‘disaster conscious’ approach and taking concrete steps so that in future the loss of life and property in natural disasters could be reduced.
They said that due to its location and topography, Chital was more vulnerable to natural disasters. Landslides and erosion, snow and avalanches, glacier bursts and flash floods posed threat to the area, they said.
Over the years, they said, the frequency of natural disasters had increased causing colossal losses in the area and rendering hundreds of people homeless.
Those who spoke at the workshop included Chitral DCO Mutasim Billah Shah, regional programme manager of Focus Amir Mohammad, programme officer Wali Mohammad and Dr Mir Afzal Tajik.
They said government agencies, NGOs and civil society organisations needed to make concrete and integrated efforts where every one had a defined role to play at the time of disaster.
They said areas in the district vulnerable to disasters should be identified and measures be taken to minimise damages during disasters.
The participants also called for an early warning system and informing people on time.

Position holders get cash awards

Repor Zahiruddin, Chitral

The position holders of matriculation examination 2008 held by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar were awarded cash prizes of Rs25,000, Rs15,000 and Rs10,000 respectively for standing first, second and third in the district by eminent religious leader Qari Faizullah, the administrator of Madressa Imam Mohammad Karachi here on Friday.
Former MPA from Chitral Maulana Mohammad Jahangir Khan was chief guest on the occasion who hailed the efforts of Qari Faizullah to encourage modern education by awarding scholarships to the position holders every year for the last five years. He said there is no clash between the modern and religious education while certain elements are out to create a gap between the two.
Khateeb of Shahi Masjid Chitral Maulana Khaleequz Zaman said the scholarship by Qari Faizullah had induced competition among the students in the district who strive hard to obtain it. He said separate merit lists were prepared for the students of private and public sector schools.
Those who got the scholarships were Khadija Hina Mastoor, Siddiqullah, Farzana, Umm-i-Habiba, Ihteshamul Haq and Khuzaifa.

Chitral's peace to be maintained

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

District Nazim Chitral Maghfirat Shah has said the district government is high alert to its duty of maintaining the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere of Chitral and effective steps have been taken to abort any attempt of infiltration of miscreants into the district.
Presiding over a meeting of the heads of various political parties, civil society organizations and heads of offices of various government departments in connection with maintenance of peace and order in the district, he said the support of the people must be enlisted who have basic role to play in coping with the elements who create anarchy in society.
He eulogized the role of the local people and said they love and cherish peace in their area and are prepared to pay any value to uphold it. He said that there is no imminent danger to peace in the district as there is complete harmony among different sections of the society and political parties.
DPO Sher Akbar briefed the participants about the measures taken to keep close watch on the movement of miscreants while DCO Mutasim Billah Shah and commandant of Chitral Scouts Col Sohail were also present.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chitral forest a `windfall' for timber mafia

By Zar Alam Khan

ISLAMABAD: The timber mafia in NWFP has wreaked havoc on the forest of Chitral by illegally felling green trees and smuggling them to other parts of the country. However, the government has failed to take action against the network despite initiating investigations through the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Chitral's mostly deodar forest spreads over 120,000 acres out of which 100,000 acres are commercial and the remaining 20,000 acres non-commercial. Under the law, trees can be cut down after being marked by the government for domestic use or export to other districts. The forest area stretching from Lowari to Ayun has already been under stress due to excessive cutting for use as firewood.

A total of five million trees were cut down after marking from 1967 to 1997, while clandestine cutting and smuggling also continued during the period. A large-scale marking of trees was carried out during 1990-91 but soon a ban was imposed after objections raised by environmental agencies and the public mostly from the subdivision of Mastuj who heavily depend on the forest of lower Chitral for firewood and construction purposes.

However, the timber mafia remained active and in 2005-06 succeeded in persuading the government to restart marking, saying if the ‘windfall’ trees and those affected by heavy snowfall and rains were not marked for cutting, they could catch fire and destroy the whole forest!

As a result, the government sanctioned marking and the timber mafia initiated the process from Rumbur valley after entering into a dubious deal with the elders of the area under which the forest owners would get Rs30 per foot. Soon, 700,000 trees were marked for cutting in the small valley after showing them `windfall’. However, on public complaints, an inquiry was initiated which found that out of the 700,000 trees marked, a whopping 500,000 were green and healthy saplings.

Though the government once again stopped the process but no action was taken against those who had marked green trees for cutting.

Later, the youth of the area did not even allow chopping of the remaining 200,000 marked trees demanding payment at the market rate. Similarly, 200,000 trees were marked in the Birir and 600,000 in the Shishy valleys. Locals say widespread irregularities have been committed in the marking of trees in these valleys too.

Sources in the forest department said the mafia bought the trees at the rate of Rs30 per foot from the locals and smuggle it to other district where it fetched Rs3,000 per foot.

"Billions of rupees are involved in the illegal trade and forest department officials from top to bottom are involved in the scam."

Chitrali officials in the forest department told Dawn that the timber mafia has been looting the forest resources of the district with impunity by keeping the local officials and the residents at bay.

They said with the abolition of the state Chitral’s forest came under the administrative control of the provincial government on January 1, 1971. Giving one example of how the locals have been kept out of the decision-making process in the department, they said all key posts in the district forest department were given to outsiders. To make sure that no Chitrali got a responsible job in the department, the doors for admission to the only Forest College of the country in Peshawar have been closed on the Chitrali students. A few students who took admission to the college on a self-finance basis were denied jobs in the department lest they could expose the wrongdoings.

In a letter to the President on behalf of the residents of Arandu Lasht, one Mohammad Ali Khan complained about the indiscriminate cutting of forest in Arandu Gol, Damel and Langorbat.

He said the smuggling of timber to Afghanistan and Upper Dir areas continued under the nose of the customs officials. He said the mafia got 140,000 feet of wood chopped down in Arandu Gol alone and later claimed that they had confiscated 55,000 cubic feet of wood in order to avoid payment of royalty amounting to millions of rupees to the locals. But strangely, neither the accused were identified nor any investigation ordered.

The locals regretted that on the one hand the government had put in place strict rules for movement of timber within the valley and on the other given a free hand to the mafia to smuggle it out of the district.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Accord signed for Kalash valley uplift

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Ayun Valleys Development Programme (AVDP) signed an agreement on Monday for the development of the Bumburate, Rumboor and Birir areas of Kalash valley.

According to the terms of partnership (ToP) of the project, it is meant to bring the area at par with other parts of the district and create job opportunities for the poverty-stricken Kalash people. The project will encompass all the sectors of development like health, education, communication, agriculture, environment and tourism but without jeopardising the cultural entity of the Kalash people who possess a unique culture.

SDC regional coordinator Khalid Hussain and AVDP chairman Rehmat Ilahi inked the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations while regional programme manager of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) Engineer Sardar Ayub was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Hussain and Mr Ayub said that AVDP was the first ever organisation in the district which was entrusted to carry out development activities on such a large scale.

They said that Kalash people were suffering from abject poverty on one hand and the preservation of their culture and traditions was another challenge. They said that the project would ensure sustainable development of the Kalash valley and help raise the standard of life of the people.

They said that Birir would be made a model valley and it was selected due to its backwardness and the fact that Kalash culture was present in its original form in this valley.

They said that the forests in the valley would be protected. For the promotion of tourism in the area, special initiatives would be launched to provide fabulous opportunities of self-employment to the people in the valley, they said.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lowari tunnel digging to complete by December

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

Digging for the 8,600-metre long Lowari Rail Tunnel will be completed by the first week of December this year, an official source said. So far, he added, 7,152 metres drilling has been completed.

The source said that work was in full swing and 4,032 metres of digging had been completed on the Dir side (south portal), while 3,120 metres of digging had been completed on the Chitral side (north portal).

He said that the second phase of the project was laying of railway track and electrification, which would commence from the first month of the next year, while a two-kilometer long approach tunnel on Chitral side would also be constructed to provide all-weather access to the tunnel during the winter season.

The source said that the project would be opened to the public by the end of 2009. Regarding the importance of the project, he said that inaugurated by President Pervez Musharraf on July 8, 2006, the project ranked fifth out of the 20 mega projects initiated by the government in the country, which provide all-weather route linkage to the district with the rest of the country during the winter season.

During winter, Chitral district becomes inaccessible, when the Lowari Pass (10,500 ft) receives heavy snow and closes for four months and the residents are virtually imprisoned within the boundaries of the district.

The tunnel will reportedly reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by half. The width of the tunnel is 7.5 metres, while its height is 7 metres and the cost of the project is 8 billion rupees ($133 million), the source said.

After completion, the tunnel will also provide road link to the Central Asian state of Tajikistan via Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. Feasibility study on the project was carried out by the government in 1955 and work on it was started by the Frontier Works Organisation in 1974, which was later stopped by Gen Ziaul Haq.

Presently, the construction work has been assigned to a Korean company, Sambu and the National Highway Authority is the executing agency. The people of Chitral are attaching great importance to the project which, they hoped, will bring about progress and prosperity in the backward area.

Lowari tunnel digging to complete by December

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

Digging for the 8,600-metre long Lowari Rail Tunnel will be completed by the first week of December this year, an official source said. So far, he added, 7,152 metres drilling has been completed.

The source said that work was in full swing and 4,032 metres of digging had been completed on the Dir side (south portal), while 3,120 metres of digging had been completed on the Chitral side (north portal).

He said that the second phase of the project was laying of railway track and electrification, which would commence from the first month of the next year, while a two-kilometer long approach tunnel on Chitral side would also be constructed to provide all-weather access to the tunnel during the winter season.

The source said that the project would be opened to the public by the end of 2009. Regarding the importance of the project, he said that inaugurated by President Pervez Musharraf on July 8, 2006, the project ranked fifth out of the 20 mega projects initiated by the government in the country, which provide all-weather route linkage to the district with the rest of the country during the winter season.

During winter, Chitral district becomes inaccessible, when the Lowari Pass (10,500 ft) receives heavy snow and closes for four months and the residents are virtually imprisoned within the boundaries of the district.

The tunnel will reportedly reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by half. The width of the tunnel is 7.5 metres, while its height is 7 metres and the cost of the project is 8 billion rupees ($133 million), the source said.

After completion, the tunnel will also provide road link to the Central Asian state of Tajikistan via Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. Feasibility study on the project was carried out by the government in 1955 and work on it was started by the Frontier Works Organisation in 1974, which was later stopped by Gen Ziaul Haq.

Presently, the construction work has been assigned to a Korean company, Sambu and the National Highway Authority is the executing agency. The people of Chitral are attaching great importance to the project which, they hoped, will bring about progress and prosperity in the backward area.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Plots distributed among heirs of policemen

CHITRAL: District Police Officer Chitral (DPO) Sher Akbar Khan distributed documents of plots amongst widows of police officials who were killed during their officials' duty.

The DPO gave documents of five and 10 marla plots at Regi Lalma Peshawar to the heirs of the martyred police officials at his office.

He handed over documents of 10 marlas to wife of ASI Gulsambar Khan, who was killed in a suicide attack at Arandu border.

Addressing on the occasion, the DPO said this was not substitute to the sacrifices of our martyred cops.

Meanwhile, talking to local political and religious leaders the DPO warned that no one would be allowed to disturb peaceful environment of Chitral. He said Chitral was a peaceful district and the government will maintain the situation at every cost and every militant or miscreant would be handled with iron hands.

Plots distributed among heirs of policemen

CHITRAL: District Police Officer Chitral (DPO) Sher Akbar Khan distributed documents of plots amongst widows of police officials who were killed during their officials' duty.

The DPO gave documents of five and 10 marla plots at Regi Lalma Peshawar to the heirs of the martyred police officials at his office.

He handed over documents of 10 marlas to wife of ASI Gulsambar Khan, who was killed in a suicide attack at Arandu border.

Addressing on the occasion, the DPO said this was not substitute to the sacrifices of our martyred cops.

Meanwhile, talking to local political and religious leaders the DPO warned that no one would be allowed to disturb peaceful environment of Chitral. He said Chitral was a peaceful district and the government will maintain the situation at every cost and every militant or miscreant would be handled with iron hands.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chitral streets teem with garbage, where is TMA

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

Chitral city is teeming with heaps of garbage, as the tehsil municipal administration (TMA) has not cleared these, for the last one year, residents here said.

Residents of the area said while talking to this scribe said that the roads and open spaces were littered with waste, which had defaced the city. They said that this situation could also lead to outbreak of different diseases. They complained that few years ago, Chitral was known for its clean surroundings and atmosphere, but over the last few years, it had changed for the worst.

The residents alleged that the TMA authorities were totally indifferent to its basic duty of maintaining cleanliness in the city.

They said that most of the people had directed their houses sewage lines into the water of the river and the streams flowing in the city. They said that the riverbed and the banks of the streams had become the dumping sites of filth produce of the city and in the summer season, they stink so strong that one cannot pass by easily.

They said that the butchers and the hotel owners throw their waste into the stream running across the city, where tons of garbage had accumulated now beside the Bazaar Bridge.

They said that in the absence of public latrines, the people were forced to urinate in the open space, which further worsens the situation. The residents said that the poor situation of sanitation gave a bad impression of the city to the tourists.

They said that the Chew Bridge area, which gave a magnificent view of the peak of Trichmir and was a famous picnic spot, had become the dirtiest place in the city.

The residents complained that due to the negligence of the TMA, all the hotel owners throw their garbage into the bank of River Chitral at Chew. The oil wastes of the motor workshops on the other side of the Chew Bridge, is also not checked by the TMA.

One Shokhor Khan, a shopkeeper in his eighties, remembered with great nostalgia the days when the city was spotless, neat and tidy during the days of the former princely state.

When the Tehsil Nazim, Sartaj Ahmed Khan was contacted, he said that lack of resources was the main obstacle in keeping the city clean. He admitted that solid wastes had not been disposed of since long.

Sartaj Ahmed said that TMA Chitral had only one tractor-trolley to remove the garbage from different localities of the city and had requested the provincial government for five more tractors trolleys.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More girls colleges for Chitral demanded

The residents of Chitral have demanded increase in the seats of first-year both in science and humanities groups so that hundreds of female students could be able to get admissions.

Talking to this correspondent, they said in the public sector there was only one college in the whole district which has only 50 seats for science group and 150 for humanities which are quite insufficient for a population of 500,000. They said despite getting first division in the matriculation examination, their daughters were deprived of admission. They said majority of the people are poor and cannot afford the tuition fee of the private colleges and they had no alternative other than discontinuing the studies of their daughters.--Zahiruddin (chitraltoday.com)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chitral BHUs without doctors

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

The People's Programme for Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) has yet to solve the basic problem of the acute shortage of doctors in its basic health units (BHUs) in Chitral, the people complained. They said one year ago, the PPHI, then called President's Programme for Healthcare Initiative, had taken over all the 21 BHUs of the district to improve their functioning which were in disordered form with the result that the patients relied on the DHQ hospital from all the nooks and corners of the district. Most of the BHUs were being run without doctors and without diagnostic facilities while the buildings were in dilapidated conditions. They said although the PPHI improved the infrastructure of the health units to a good degree but the problems of absence of doctors and diagnostic facilities still persists. The provision of medicines has also been ensured to all the BHUs in sufficient quantities but without a doctor who will prescribe the medicines, they asked. The PPHI has so far appointed only four doctors for the 21 BHUs, they said, adding the number is quite insufficient and meaningless.

A doctor has to cover three or more BHUs simultaneously which is humanly not possible as the population is sparse and the distance between the BHUs are very large to be covered on daily basis. They said the joint-doctor of the BHUs encamps himself in one BHU and visits the others very seldom due to the problems of communication as the doctor has no transport facility at his disposal to go to the other stations at will while it takes two days or more if one walks on feet, they said. The situation worsens in the winter season when due to the snow and avalanches, it become more difficult to move from one valley to another. Citing example, they said that the Nishko BHU, where the doctor is stationed, remains cut off from Terich, Rech and Khot valleys in the winter season for vehicular traffic where BHUs are
existing. They questioned that how a lonely doctor can perform duty in such stations, they questioned. Regarding the diagnostic facilities, the residents said that even the presence of doctor is meaningless when there are no diagnostic facilities. They said that even a simple urine and blood test is not available in the BHU and one has to go to the DHQ hospital for the purpose while without preliminary diagnosis, no treatment is possible. They said that just the renovation of a hospital building is not
the solution of the healthcare problems and the provision of medicines will relieve the poor people of the remote areas only when doctors are available to them.--Chitraltoday.com

Wanted a bridge for Yarkhun valley

By Zar Alam Khan

WINTER in most parts of Chitral brings miseries. But for the last over two years summer has become even more traumatic for the dwellers of the far-off Yarkhun valley. From April to October each year, residents in hundreds of villages dotting the valley on both sides of the river up to the Boroghil pass on the border of Afghanistan remain deprived of even free movement to and out of the area.

The only jeep-able bridge over the Yarkhun River connecting the valley of over 35,000 people with other parts of the district was washed away in August 2006. The stranded people have knocked all avenues for its reconstruction but the government has not moved to resolve the problem.

The previous provincial government punished the area by putting the project into the cold storage because the residents had not voted for the religious parties’ alliance. Without sanctioning funds, the district government headed by the MMA nazim last year asked a contractor to start work in order to hoodwink the public but the contractor soon left the area. The residents later voted en masse for the PML-Q candidates. Soon after winning the elections, MNA Shahzada Mohiuddin and MPA Ghulam Mohammad visited the area and assured the people that the project would now be taken up on a priority basis. The MPA later inaugurated work on the reconstruction of the bridge by opening a plaque at the site. But this time too the contractor stopped work after drilling a few borings because the provincial government had not sanctioned funds for the project.

The residents said they were facing untold miseries in travelling to other parts of the district. Women, children and the elderly are the worst affected, as they cannot cross the narrow, long and dangerously hanging pedestrian bridge which has become the only source of communication to the area. The bridge can become a death trap as its condition has dilapidated due to excessive use particularly by loaders shifting all types of goods. One person died while crossing the river near the destroyed bridge last year.

Taxi drivers have started looting the locals. Passengers having luggage or accompanied by children, women or sick persons in particular become their victims.

Supply of essential commodities to the valley has also been badly affected, resulting in unbridled rise in the prices. Local traders have fixed prices of essential items on their own, saying they pay extra fares to the transporters after crossing the bridge. The villagers used to supplement their income by selling fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products but now they have also been deprived of this source of livelihood due to the blockade of the area.

Even basic healthcare facilities are non-existent in the valley. A dispensary had been set up in the Dizg village by the district health department a few years back but later it was also closed down and the staff transferred out of the valley. The closure of the area has multiplied the miseries of those needing immediate medical treatment.

Students especially girls from Istach, Dizg, Khruzg and Mahting take the risk of their life by daily crossing the pedestrian bridge to attend schools in Brep. There is only one high school for boys in the over 200-km-long valley while no institution has been set up for girls to continue education after middle level.--DAWN

Friday, August 8, 2008

TMA Chitral allocates funds for Tajikistan road

Report Zahiruddin, Chitral

Tehsil Council Chitral passed its annual budget for the current financial year in its session presided over by its convener Sardar Hussain while tehsil nazim Sartaj Ahmed Khan was also present on the occasion.

The tehsil nazim told the local journalists that funds have been allocated for the construction of Chitral-Tajikistan road but did not tell its amount. In the budget, not a single penny has been allocated to keep the city clean and dispose of the garbage which is the largest civic problem, the residents complained.

They said the construction of Chitral-Tajikistan road is beyond the mandate of the municipal body and it will incur billions of rupees whose executing agency can be only the National Highway Authority.--Chitraltoday.com

Naib nazim resigns over minister's remarks

Report Bashir Hussain Azad, Chitral

District Naib Nazim and convener of the District Council Chitral Sultan Shah has tendered resignation from the post against some remarks passed by Provincial Minister Saleem Khan about the house on Thursday.

Earlier, the minister had been invited to address the house, which was on its monthly session at the end of which some members of the house asked questions from him. Some of the pinching questions irritated the minister who said he was not answerable to the house, and with this left the house. The house members then made a rumpus objecting to the remarks of the minister on which the convener announced his resignation and said with the insult of the house he would not like to chair its session any more. Sources in the Council secretariat said as per procedure, the resignation of the convener is being sent to the District Nazim for further action.--Chitraltoday.com

Unesco urged to save ancient sites in Mastuj

Report Bashir Hussain Azad, Chitral

Public representatives and social circles including Noor Wali Shah, Zaffarullah, Maj (r) Ahmed Said, Rehmat Ghafoor Baig and Bulbul have asked Unesco and the archaeology department aswell as Hazara University to save the important archaeological site of Lakhapo Dok in Mastuj from the land mafia who want to construct a rest house on it.

Addressing a press conference here, they said on the plateau of Lakhap, the remains of the Gandhara grave culture have been found by the archaeologists which are of rare nature. They said the archaeological sites should be preserved as national cultural heritage and their excavation must be carried out so that the history of the people could be traced on scientific lines. They said the archaeology department of Hazara University is busy in the excavation of such sites in many parts of the district and Mastuj was yet to be included in their list. They said some quarters in the district had aborted it and wanted to raise a rest house at the site. They said the construction over the archaeological treasure will be a great national loss of heritage. They also urged the Unesco high-ups to protect the sites and include it in world heritage.--Chitraltoday.com

Monday, August 4, 2008

save ancient sites of Chitral

This is with reference to a news item about “Aryan grave site in Chitral”. The news item reveals the department of archaeology is engaged in excavating important archaeological sites in various districts of NWFP including Chitral. I would like to draw the kind attention of the federal and the NWFP governments, the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (Unesco) towards the proposal of the construction of officers' mess and guesthouse at the important archaeological site of “Lakhapo Dok” in Mastuj, district Chitral. The site is situated on 200 feet high mound with the remains of graves dating back to 600 BC. It is pertinent to mention that NWFP government constructed the building of a high school on another archaeological site at Brep, in Mastuj tehsil of Chitral, in 1978. "Noghoro Dok” in Brep houses the remains of a 2nd century AD fort and Budhist relics of great significance. I appeal to the culture department, archaeology department and Unesco to play their active role in protecting the 600 BC archaeological site of “Lakhapo Dok” from being raised to ground in order to erect an unnecessary officers mess and guesthouse at the site

Bashir Hussain Azad

Chitral
Chitraltoday.com

Govt advised against Kabul route for power import

Dawn

By Zar Alam Khan



ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: Elected representatives of Chitral have called upon the government not to yield to international pressure and go for the shortest and most viable Wakhan-Chitral route for the proposed import of electricity from Central Asia.

Talking to this correspondent, MNA Shahzada Mohiuddin, MPA Ghulam Mohammad and Mastuj Tehsil Nazim Shahzada Sikandar ul Mulk said Pakistan should not take risk on the vital national project by acceding to the proposal to opt for the Afghanistan route.

They pointed out that for the NWFP such an initiative also translated into opening up of a much-needed second trade corridor along the Khyber Pass, as the proposed route was not only geographically closer to Tajikistan and Kryghistan but was also very secure since it had remained peaceful throughout the three decades of war and strife in Afghanistan.

The World Bank estimates the project cost at around $600 million.

Given NWFP's close proximity to Tajikistan by a mere 35km, that is the distance separating Chitral from the Central Asian country, it becomes the natural choice for laying the high voltage transmission line via Boroghil Pass, the very junction separating the Amu Darya (Oxus River) from River Chitral (better known as Kabul River in NWFP).

They said on the Chitral side, a jeep track already exists up to Chikar (Petch Utz) at a distance of only 11km from Boroghil right across which a truck-able road exists on the Afghan side of Darwaza. The Tajik border town of Langar is a mere 13km away from Darwaza while the distance from Chitral's border to Khorog, the provincial capital of GABO (Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblasc), is just 13 km – all having a truck-able road.

Moreover, Chitral is already linked with the national power grid and the transmission line via the valley would cover only 700km to reach Peshawar.

One of the proposed routes for the power import will run through Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, Salang Pass and Jalalabad before reaching Peshawar, stretching 170km in Tajikistan, 430km in Afghanistan and 50km in Pakistan.

In contrast, they said, the Wakhan-Chitral route would run 370km in Tajikistan, only 30km in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan and 310km in Pakistan.

They said policy makers would have to think twice about the Afghanistan route, as even Nato and Afghan forces have been unable to ensure their supply lines from Pakistan.

Another proposed route would run via the Ishkuman valley of the Northern Areas covering 70 per cent hard rock and pass through three major glaciers and three mountain ranges – Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayas – before covering around 1,300 kilometers to reach Pakistan's nearest national grid.

The Northern Areas currently has no link with the national grid and work on the Basha-Diamer Dam will take at least 10-15 years. In contrast, if the transmission line were to follow the natural plateau of the Boroghil route into Chitral, it encounters no glaciers and follows the river bank with no mountain passes at all.

Interestingly, studies by the German organisation GTZ put Chitral's power generation capacity at 6,000-8,000 megawatts, making it a potential source of cash to propel the national economy.

Indigenous electricity generated from River Chitral, the NWFP's largest river, can be added to the same Central Asian transmission line, making it a dual purpose and cost-effective proposition, they added.

Without electricity, the province’s industrialisation through the creation of US-sponsored Reconstruction Opportunity Zones will also remain a pipe dream and so will be the desire to wean people away from militancy into gainful employment.

They said Americans who were encouraging the project to resolve the power crisis in Pakistan should also be keen to boost the economy of the NWFP by linking it to Central Asia. Upon completion, this route will also supplement the province’s income side-by-side the Khyber Pass as both the northern and southern portals of the Lowari tunnel meet around November this year

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Helicopter to the roof of the world

As part of an ongoing series, Ray Nayler blogs about life in Central Asia.


Every Wednesday and Friday in Tajikistan, weather permitting, the Aga Khan foundation flies a helicopter from Dushanbe to the remote city of Khorog, in the Pamir mountains at an elevation of 2200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level. If space allows, and you happen to work for an NGO here in Tajikistan, and have some business in the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakshan, you can sometimes get a ride. Gorno-Badakshan is the home of the Pamiri peoples, Ismail Muslims whose native languages are a series of obscure Eastern Iranian offshoots with fewer that 100,00 native speakers, Anya and I were lucky enough last Friday to benefit from the Aga Khan’s largesse, and hitched a ride on the helicopter to Khorog, where we planned to conduct recruiting for one of our programs as well as a re-entry seminar for our FLEX alumni, high school students freshly returned from the United States, in this remote corner of Tajikistan.


To use the phrase hitched a ride makes it sound as if it was easy, but there were, as always in Tajikistan, a number of bureaucratic hurdles to jump through, from getting permission for entry to the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region to getting space on the helicopter itself. But all of the bureaucratic hassles melt away as the sleek Bell lifts from the Dushanbe runway and the ragged patchwork of agriculture at the edges of the capitol, the rusty bones of industry and scrapyards, give way to crenellated hills and wide, drying river beds with ribbons of water veining through them, reflecting the sun like mirrored glass. The helicopter banks gracefully southeast as the passengers, ears muffled in protective headphones against the engines’ roar, settle in to some of the most spectacular scenery the world has to offer.

As we move further from the capitol, the mountains grow drier, more violently twisted from the flatlands below, and more imposing. Knife-ridges of rock lay exposed to the eroding wind, and layers of sediment hardened to granite lay tilted to the sky by tectonics. From far off, it appears as if the loose earth is running down the mountains like water. Soon we are flying not over but through the mountains, with grey sentinels rising around us and white flashes of snow that grow, over time, to glaciers grinding their way down the mountainsides and, as we hover over Afghanistan, sawblade ridges of stone outside our windows. Below, the Pyandzh River winds its course, and villages nestle up to, splashes and streaks of cultivated green in the arid, twisting scene.

On the Tajik side of the border, the houses are soviet-style, of concrete or sometimes mud-brick, their pitched roves clad in corrugated tin or fiberglass. On the Afghan side, the mudbrick homes are more chaotically aligned, their rooves flat, and they cling to the mountainsides more closely, reserving the scarce flatland for little amoeba-shaped fields fed by canals from the mountain rivers. On a trip by car to Bamyan from Kabul a few years ago I got a closer view of these canals, which provide a lifeline to the little mountain communities along the arid river valleys. The canals angle less steeply from the riverbed, along the base of the mountain. The Pyandzh River valley, above which we are now flying, receives less that 8 inches of water in a year. It is snowmelt which feds the river. Below the line of the canal, everything is green. Above it, there is no vegetation at all. The helicopter makes a steep turn over the Pyandzh River and comes gently to rest on the cracked tarmac of the Khorog airport.

“Welcome to Khorog.” A man with a nametag around his neck and several gold teeth whisks away our passports and permissions with a grin. Just four hours later, our small mission in this remote city smothered in poplar trees finished, we lift off again, crossing the flowing border between the two countries in the air, and follow the river back toward home. Some journeys really are about the trip, rather than the destination.

Awesome and rugged

Awesome and rugged

Beauty of Chitral

Beauty of Chitral
Kishmanja, a beautiful village in Yarkhun valley

Lush green

Lush green

DIZG: threatened by floods

DIZG: threatened by floods

The legendary village of Ayun in Chitral

The legendary village of Ayun in Chitral
On way to Bumburet

Dizg, Yarkhun

Dizg, Yarkhun

Blog Archive

About Me

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Village Dizg, Yarkhun valley, Chitral, Pakistan
I blog at http://chitraltoday.net (ChitralToday) about Chitral, its people, culture, traditions and issues. I have been writing about Chitral since 2000. Chitral is a scenic valley in the extreme north-west of Pakistan.