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Qaqlasht festival – an event to reflect on

Few years back, a local civil society organization Al-Karim Welfare Society Booni informally initiated Qaqlasht festival. Since then this festival has become a calendar event. I am totally ignorant about the fact whether Qaqlasht festival has some historical roots or not. One legendary story about an encounter between Bahman-i-Kohistani, a local king of about 9th century BC, and an Arab warrior Amir Hamza is still prevailing among majority of the people of Chitral, especially the ones living in the outskirt of this place. The remnant of a fort at the bank of River Torkhow near Muxhgol village is attributed to Bahman-i- Kohistani. The spot of the war between the Arabs and Behman is said to be somewhere in Qaqlasht. The exact age of this desert is still unknown. Only geological experts can tell us the formation process of this piece of land. They can also tell us whether this piece of land was ever hospitable to human or not? Another story of its irrigation channel also popular among the local community is that the above mentioned king constructed an irrigation channel in his time. Thanks to the committee of this event and the community surrounding this land, Qaqlasht festival has gained much popularity among domestic and international tourists. It has attracted a huge number of people from nooks and corner of the country. In this way, it could provide a boom to the business activities in the region. Such events have great financial and cultural benefits.  Moreover, this event could also contribute towards developing love, passion and tolerance towards other cultures and faith. I foresee a great future for this event. Another important point to be remembered is that such events and festivals could serve as a platform for learning from each others. No individual, institution, political party, religious force or any other cause can bring such a sea of people without any discrimination on a single platform. These could be used as a learning opportunity. Awareness about environmental, social, cultural, education and health and hygiene issues could be raised thus education the people with enthusiasm and joy. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government may own this celebration in the future to create more opportunities for the people and develop tourist industry in the mountainous land of Chitral thus projecting our traditions and culture throughout the world. We Chitralis are the peace loving, enlightened and moderate people. When all the doors are closed only the door of improvement remains open. We can have a better arrangement facility in this respect. To arrange this event according to the need of the people and international standards following measures would be beneficial in terms of education with entertainment. A tehsil level committee comprising experts from various fields could better facilitate the event. The committee could have various portfolios. One should be educating committee or whatever name we give. Its purpose should only be educating the people on various issues mentioned above. Only the committee could not perform all this. More linkages with the other civil society organizations, governmental and non governmental organization will deliver quality service. Trash littered at Qaqlasht after 2019 festival.The biggest threat which is being faced by this event facing is the environmental degradation. I am much concerned about the pollution being caused by the mammoth gathering. If we are not mindful about the current situation then this beautiful land piece will be filled by nothing but a huge mass of garbage threatening the beauty of nature. Species in this habitat could also be threatened by the careless usage of resources. Some of the measures could protect the environment from being destroyed. The use of dustbin near to each other especially around the main ground is very important. People should also be educated about the usage of these dustbin. Unavailability of public latrines causes huge pollution by human fecaces around the main ground. Make shift latrines have now available everywhere. One designed by Aga Khan Planning and Building Service from a local resource is most suitable. Environmental activists and groups throughout the world and especially those based in Chitral are requested to join hand to address the issue of environmental and other pollution.]]>

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  1. Ibad-ur Rehman says

    I think the writer deserves high appreciation for highlighting such an important aspects of the festival which would contribute a lot in the economic, social and cultural development of the area because year by year it is getting much popularity in the world of tourism and sports. I think if someone appreciates and spread awareness among the people regarding the good aspects of the event or festival and at the same time raises voices against those factors or elements which cause destruction to the natural beauty or environment, then being an educated person and inhabitant of the area it is our ethical, moral, educational, social and even religious duty to appreciate, help and support him/her rather than criticizing small things.

  2. Sardar Ahmad Zerak says

    The learned writer has distotred the facts, as Jashan Qaqlasht was initiated in 2005-2006 by a Committee joined by all civil youth societies registered with Social Welafre Department coming from all adjacent villages around the Qaqlasht platue right from Reshun to Awi, Kushum to Kosht and their umbrella organization DCCN Chitral had a major role in holding this event. All NGOs working in Chitral and concerned govt department also played their role in making the new event a big success.To give the credit to one Booni-based society is totally discriminatory and such kind of distortion of facts create a gap furthering mistrust, hatered, biase and destruction at the end. He must get good, enough information before writing a sentence on history even of past one day. His points for further improvement of the event are welcomed.
    Sardar Ahmad Zerak

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