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  February 27, 2017



Exclusion of Kalash and other minorities mother languages in forthcoming population census condemned

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The people of Chitral including Kalash minority felt dejected over the omission of Kalash religion along with the fourteen numbers of mother languages being spoken across the district in the enumeration process in the forthcoming population census and have warned the government of boycott it.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the representatives of Kalash community Nabaik advocate and Luke Rahmat flanked by the spokesmen of different literary organizations, Dr. Inayatullah Faizi, Muhammad Kausar advocate, Inamullah, Muhammad Irfan and others said that the exclusion of Kalash from the list of religions and that of local languages of Chitral have sent shock waves across the valley of Chitral.

They said that in the enumeration form designed for enumeration in the census 2017, only 5 religions have been mentioned and Kalash comes under the head of ‘others’ for which ‘0’ will be entered in the column of religions.

They said that Kalash are already endangered people and their exclusion from the data base of census will create a series of complications for them which will jeopardize their entity and accelerate the process of their extinction.

They said that for all intent and purposes, only the data of population census organization is given credence and the absence of Kalash from the census will lead to a confusion and fuss over the strength of these ancient people residing in three segregated and contiguous valleys in the north of Chitral.

“The proposal of declaring Kalash as the world heritage in the forum of United Nations twice in the past was turned down simply on the ground that the population of Kalash was present in the population census report of 1998”, they said and added that the future of these backward people will remain bleak and blurred till they are recognized by the government.

They were also critical of the government to mention only nine languages in the census form and writing ‘0’ for the other languages and said that it will create a sense of disparity and thereby lead to impair national harmony.

They said that the government should recognize and value the cultural diversity of Chitral as fourteen different languages are spoken in three six different valleys of Chitral which included Khowar, Gujari, Palula, Yidgha, Shina, Gawarbati, Bashgaliwar, Torwali, Balti, Broshaski, Gujali, Wakikwar, Sariquli, Damia and Kalashwar.

They warned that if the Kalash religion and local languages are not included in the form of population census, then the people of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan will go to boycott it and will also start protest movement.

They appealed to the president of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to take cognizance of the injustice meted out to the people of Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan.



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