Mafia plundering Chitral's natural resources, says environment activist

PESHAWAR, Jan 10: The Chitral Heritage and Environment Protection Society held an environmental seminar titled “Ecological imbalance due to unchecked deforestation in Chitral” at the Archives and Public Library Peshawar on January 9. [caption id="attachment_6939" align="alignleft" width="300"] Participants of the seminar in Peshawar.[/caption] The purpose of the event was to bridge the widening gap between youth and professionals, and to impart awareness about unchecked and illegal deforestation in the hands of timber mafia. Dr. Sardar ul Mulk chaired the event while Mr. Ejaz Ahmad, Controller Cargo Emirates Airlines Peshawar Airport, was the chief guest. A large number of professionals, civil service officers, professors and students were present on the occasion. Mr. Rahmat Ali Jaffer Dost, the chairman CHEPS, in his special awareness lecture briefed the audience in detail about how the mafia exploits and loots the natural asset of Chitral, which, he said, will cause a huge environmental degradation in the long run. A 20-minute-long documentary on deforestation was also to the shock and amazement of the participants on the tactics used by timber mafia. Rahmat appealed to the youth of Chitral to rise up and join hands with each other and initiate measures on the ground to stop the asset being robbed by a few culprits. Moreover he thanked the president of CSWO whose cooperation in arranging the seminar made it successful. The chief guest in his speech hailed Rahmat’s activist efforts to create awareness about environmental degradation and its consequences. Dr. Sardar ul Mulk, in his presidential address, applauded CHEPS for its active role in imparting awareness about environment and providing a platform for the youth to work voluntarily for the protection of Chitral’s environment. It is worth mentioning here that the programme was a part of series of events CHEPS will hold this year throughout the country to awake the youth of Chitral, wherever they are studying or working. Certificate of best performance to those Chitralis who played a vital role for Chitral was distributed to encourage them.  A symbolic Cleanliness-walk was also held in the vicinity of the Public Library, which was marked by the participation of all the people present regardless of age, status and profession. At the end of the seminar a list of delegates to meet the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court was also finalized. It is to be noted that the delegation of the youth of Chitral, in the leadership of Chairman CHEPS, will meet the Chief Justice late this month.]]>

22 Replies to “Mafia plundering Chitral's natural resources, says environment activist”

  1. Kudoos Khan brother has correctly said that Mr. Movla Nigah’s question to the students has accurately been answered by Zahoor ul Haq. Being an educated person such questions do not suit him.

  2. Really great analysis by Mr Ahmad. I have always heard of such misunderstanding created by these Mullah minded people in targeted areas like Brep which has 100% Ismaili population. Mr Movla Nigah’s asking questions like this from the students is outrageous because being well-educated and a writer his description should be a blessing for the peace of Chitral. If educated people behave in such a manner, what we expect from others? I think the question raised by Mr. Movla Nigah in the classroom has already been answered by Zahoor ul Haq Danish.

  3. It was one fine morning in April 1994. I was a class 9th student at Govt High School Brep. There was a pin-drop silence in the school. All the teachers and students were anxiously waiting for the district education officer (DEO), who, along with his team was on his way to visit the school for a routine inspection.
    The students as well as teachers were praying for the happy ending of the big boss visit. The countdown started and finally the DEO along with his team, prominent among them Maula Nigah, entered the school. Call it a coincidence or bad luck it was Mr Nigah, who came to our class – a small class consisting of only 18 boys.
    His first question to the class was: “Is there any Muslim”? All my classmates said in one voice, “Yes, we all are Muslims”. A big taunting smile emerged on his face. This was not enough to satisfy his biased ego, which became crystal clear when he openly went into the sectarian details. Posing another question, he said how many ‘Rafizees’ are among you?
    This reflects that the foundation builders of the nation like teachers are on top of the list in spreading sectarian hatred. The behaviour of the teachers – who are supposed to be the torchbearers of the society – are ahead of clerics in disrupting sectarian harmony.
    I would also like to share a disgusting story of the similar nature where two boys – Mohammad Khan and Shahabuddin – both residents of Brep village were brainwashed by a teacher from Drosh who was posted in the GHS Brep.
    The teacher lured them to the extent that they left their families. The boys were taken away by the teacher to Drosh, where they were admitted to a seminary for further training but their family intervened at the right time and saved them from becoming suicide bombers.
    This is what the teachers, educated lot of the society is up to, what to talk of a half-baked molvi. The history is full of such incidents where these brutal men in the name of teaching, turn their students into butchers especially in the Ismaili dominated areas.
    How can I forget to narrate another story of the same nature in the above-mentioned school and this too is about a teacher who used to spread false message about Ismailis, which infuriated the young students. As a final resort, the students approached the then principal of the school, who at last removed him, giving a sigh of relief to the students, who were being continuously tortured by his self-styled interpretation of religion.
    What Zahoorul Haq Danish did against a cleric is just a tip of the iceberg. His efforts to promote religious harmony by exposing the radical clerics busy in spoiling the young minds deserve appreciation. But the need of the hour is that the teachers, who are equally involved in such activities, should also be taken to task.

  4. Fazal Sher, I visited one of the Facbook page where a person is asking Zahoor ul Haq about his actual name. Such threat he is facing living among cleric-minded people in the heart of Chitral. On the other hand, you are living in Islamabad and face no such sort of hardship but disgrace him.Shame.

  5. @Abid Ali, Rawalpindi: I’m an Ismaili and feel proud to be a student of Dr Faizi. The accusations you have levelled against him have no grounds. He is a best teacher, best human being, scholar of great repute and pride and prejudice mean nothing to him. And yes, stop declaring yourself a champion of Ismailis rights because they themselves are capable enough to fight for their rights. You stand nowhere to safeguard the rights of an enlightened, educated and bright community. The Imam always stands against the hate theory and preaches to build bridges among humans no matter which community they belong to.
    And your love for a man like Zahoorul Haq Danish could only take the existing level of hatred between the two communities to unimaginable heights. You must go to Chitral without wasting any time just to have a snapshot with your emerging mentor. This is for sure that it will get frontpage coverage in New York Times, what to talk of Chitral Today. My advice to you is that broaden your horizon by following in the footsteps of people like Dr Faizi.

  6. Good to know about your name – Sher. You have declared Dr Faizi as a hero but do you know that in the past he had also been against the Ismailis. I can say that he had the same mindset as that of the Mullah which was exposed by Mr. Zahoor ul Haq Danish – Ma zhano na zah kori asur Zuhoor ul Haq Danish. Definitely, I will go to meet him when I go to Chitral and will take photo and post it here in especially for you. He is a man who did such a thing which no one had done not only in the history of Chitral but also in whole Pakistan. I say again that Sonoghro Malang was a hero because he suffered during the days of cruelty so I called him a hero. Dear don’t pave the path for yourself or make the environment favorable for you. Get a lesson from him.

  7. @Abid Ali, Rawalpindi: The thing which I failed to understand is why everybody comes hard on these princes? Honestly speaking, a prince of modern day Chitral is living a far better life than his forefathers. If his forefather had two horses then, he has got four land cruisers today. If his forefather used to keep a couple of ‘cheermuzh’, he has hired scores of paid employees now. His children are studying in best schools, colleges and universities.
    They play their due role in politics of the country quite actively. Though they are not in great number, even then they give tough time to their opponents. This is a fact. Prince Mohiuddin has single-handedly ruled Chitral for the last so many decades.
    Being an Ismaili, my head was down in shame when I went through the sentence that Sonoghuro malang was a hero for Ismailis. A singer, a dancer, a drum beater could be your hero but please refrain yourself from imposing your point of view on other Ismailis.
    We respect and regard Sonoghuro malang as an artist, a great singer and that’s all. I do not know the criteria these guys set for the heroes. People like Dr Inayatullah Faizi, Dr Mir Baiz Khan, Sher Wali Khan Aseer, Dr Mir Afzal Tajik, Prince Masoodul Mulk etc have no importance to you.
    If a man whose heroes are Mansoor Ali Shabab, Mohammad Hassan, Baba Fatahuddin, Azhdabar Khan, Shujaul Haq, Rehmat Ali Pardes, Jigar, Zakhmi, Parwana, Diwana, Mastana, Malanga, Falana, Dimkana, I am sorry to say that you need a complete overhauling to be able to compete in the new global village.
    Besides, my advice to you is that stop counting the sacrifices if you, any of your relatives or anybody from your community has ever rendered to the religion as it is between you and your Allah. If Sonoghuro malang had rendered any sacrifice for his religion or for his Imam, Allah almighty must reward him.
    One thing which also needs clarification is that some commentators sometimes just come with such ideas which are equally destructive for both the communities, living peacefully, in the area. For example, Mr Abid once said if even he got the opportunity he would love to have an autograph from Zahoorul Haq Danish besides posing for a photo with him.
    This kind of approach will ignite the hatred between the two communities. Danish is a young man and he just wrote a letter which will not rise him to the level of a hero. For becoming a man to give an autograph, it will take time for both you and Danish, so my dear keep the pace slow.

  8. I also condemn the baseless allegations against one of the popular poets of Chitral. Indeed he was a legend, hero of Chitral. Someone cannot sue a person without any written evidence. If you are sincere with your land then bring evidence against descendents of Ziarat Khan Zerak (Malang). We are with the real descendents of Malang and the real prince of the land because they have the proof that’s why they are sitting on the place like a prince.
    It’s an humble request that it would be good if you don’t underestimate our heroes, artists, poets, without knowing their history.
    Alamgir Nawaz Khan

  9. @Fazal Sher, I didn’t understand your point of view in comparing malang with Rehmat Ali, and I feel very bad after reading your comment that you have disgraced a famous personality whose poetry is still favourite in Chitral. Secondly, I appreciate Rehmat Ali for his tremendous efforts for the preservation of Chitrali culture and environment. We will be always there to support him.

  10. Dont try to disgrace our great poet like MQM leader Altaf Hussain did with our great leader Quaid-e-Azam yesterday. Thinking and making favorable conditions for our next generation is everyone’s right so don’t take it in another sense. Fazal, why you don’t ask the Shahzadgan about their ancestors for the cruelties and snatching the lands from the poor Chitralis. Sonoghuro Malang is a hero for the Ismailis who suffer all the difficulties in the time of the cruel kinship. He was imprisoned in Khushom, Mulkhow, and the Mehtar of the time wanted him to convert to Sunni sect. Secondly, had he become thirsty for the streams of Sonoghur he would have accepted their reservations which were imposed by the Mehtar. How would I forget his songs ‘Bakh Paiso Tol Koronian Durdano Sum. So don’t give it another color, ok.

    1. Abid Ali, dear you are mistaken, ‘Bakh Paiso Tol Koronian Durdano Sum’ is not the song of Sonoghro malang. I am dead sure about that. I would like to request Sher Wali Khan Aseer Sir to tell us about the author of this song written perhaps in 1945 when the diamond jubilee of Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III was celebrated.

      1. So far we know,the song belongs to Ziarat Khan Zerak. The alias which he used in the lines – Malang – also clarifies it when he says, “Ta malang khurushi asum zamano sum, Loh paiso tol korniyan durdano sum”. But, there are many confusions about the compositions of Zerak, Gul Azam Khan and Sheri Mulk who were contemporary poets and friends. A research is needed on such controvnetersial poetic pieces.

  11. It indeed was an eye-opening seminar. Mr. Rahmat tore off the bleak curtain and exposed the ugly and unpleasant face of the mafia, which is robing the natural asset of our coming generation. Would that we could join him on the ground rather than mere passing comments and appraising him on social media!!! Hats off Rehmat!!

  12. No doubt, Rehmat Ali is a budding malang of Booni as he has all the qualities necessary for a malang. He has vigorously been pursuing the job and that’s not a bad idea at all. Besides, killing one’s own time, he is also providing recreational opportunities to the youngsters who otherwise could be seen puffing cigarettes or playing cards under the sun in a chilly winter. I was glad to see him with Sherzad Ali Haider and Masood Anwer in the photograph. There is no harm in writing press releases or providing financial assistance for publishing banners for awareness campaigns. This is indeed very healthy activity and he must be encouraged. As far linking him with Ziarat Khan Zerak it is not fair because malang is still a great source of entertainment for us. So guys let us not underestimate our artists because they are always there to entertain us and we must appreciate them.

  13. @Fazal Sher: We condemn your baseless allegations against a renowned poet. Majority of Chitralis still take pride in the poetry of Sonoghuro malang and his all-time hit songs. He earned the title of malang because he deserved it. People like you will never understand the philosophy of a malang. For you it is a joke but for a lover it is like capturing the ocean in a drop. His bravery is acknowledged by both foes and friends. But it is very unfortunate there are people like you who have no regard for their heroes. He was a legend. You cannot produce a man of his calibre in centuries. We challenge you to prove the allegations you have levelled against my proud grandfather or I will drag people like you to the court. Do not cross the limits in settling your scores with people like Rehmat Ali, who stands nowhere before Ziarat Khan Zerak. I will repeat that he was a legend and a poet par excellence. His poetry is still popular among people of Chitral. He was the sole custodian of Kishmanja and we, the grandsons of Ziarat Khan Zerak, will always be there with my chest out, enjoying the view like prince from the top of Kiashmanja.
    Aijaz Ibrahim & Maqbool Hussain
    Kishmanja, Sonoghur

  14. Poet Ziarat Khan Zerak possessed a so-called madness for Sonoghur village and was referred to as Sonoghuro malang. Under the guise of his being a malang, he made a name. He began composing poems about his love for the scenic village, mentioning its name in almost all his verses and poetry. But the people of the village only realized his true face after he occupied a huge chunk of land overlooking the village of Sonoghur known as Kishmanja. The sole purpose of his poetry and his desire to earn the title of malang was to occupy Kishmanja. This is what Rehmat Ali Jafar Dost is into after exhausting all options to establish a small business in Islamabad. He is a very interesting character and the road he has chosen in the name of protecting environment may help him emerge as another malang – malang of Booni.
    The gigantic task, of which he claims to be the torchbearer is not so easy. The road ahead is quite bumpy, for which people spent sleepless nights in top universities of the world.
    The bottom line is that this is nothing but an interesting drama in the name of environment backed by some underground key players sitting in Islamabad, who help him in writing press releases and placards for some vested interests.

    1. @ Fazal Sher!! If you don’t have even the least bit of Faith, (which the Holy Prophet PBUH calls the lowest degree of Faith..’Az’af ul Imaan’) to consider a wrong ‘wrong’ at heart, then, mind it, people like you are not a ‘part’ of discussion, rather they are ‘topic’ of discussion. I am the General Secretary of CHEPS since its inception, and Rahmat is doing all these activities with no financial support whatsoever, with a passion and sincerity that I have no words to explain and appreciate. You seem to be a conspiracy-monger. If you yourself are good for nothing, please don’t misguide people and don’t spread the xenophobia, that you surely are suffering from.
      I pity your mentality if you still think that people do something only to be called ‘hero’, ‘popular’, ‘known’ and so on. It is only because people of your mentality live in our community that we are not progressing.
      I request the editor to please not upload such misguiding nonsense comments!

      1. @Zahoor ul Haq Danish: Your comment is quite interesting. Full of humour just like a primary school kid who gets infuriated when some naughty kids make fun of him, taking advantage of his innocence. The way you have tried to express your ideas is no different than your brother cleric who delivers hate speeches against a particular community. However, I would say that you have got a perfect boss, because people with a mindset like you truly feel comfortable to work under a “munshi’. The ideas you have floated in your typical capacity reflect your mindset.
        I would also like to shed light on the cleric issue which you tried to cash in on. There are several other such characters which you never tried to expose because their roots are directly connected to the mountains of Terich. If you are so keen to root out hate speeches, start it from there. You should have the guts to call a spade a spade. Just look around and you will find the people with similar track record like the cleric. My dear gentleman, slow down a bit as the road ahead is very bumpy and steep. Don’t think everybody is like Rehmat Ali Jafer Dost – Booniyo Malang. You are a government employee, so just perform your duties within the defined parameters as under the rules running a non-governmental organization (NGO) is strictly banned.

        1. @ Fazal Sher!! Yes I am a man having guts enough to call a spade a spade, not like you and the clerics I exposed. I have stood against every wrong, no matter how closest quarters it comes from.
          I pity your mentality and the way you vainly try to justify it, without knowing the harsh fact that people of your mentality are on the brink of ‘extinction’ today. You don’t have to give me suggestions on what I should or shouldn’t do. Your comments reflect your true mentality: you seem to be suppressed and ‘shackled’ by ‘restrictions’ so strong that they stop you from saying the truth, or condemning the wrong!! This is hypocrisy my dear!! (“Muzabzabeena baina zaalik”)
          Good luck! Keep blindly following the clerics, they will lead you to the middle of nowhere, and keep swayed but ‘majority’, even if Quran says: “Wa aksaruhum Laa Yaalamoon”.. (“Majority of people do not know”).

  15. He is a lone fighter against the mighty mafia. But I am surprised to see everywhere he goes lots of people come out to support him. So far, this man has worked selflessly, the only cause before him being the betterment of Chitral. A thorough Chitrali, Rehmat Ali is one of those lots who are clean of any sorts of prejudices. We all should support him because he has a good cause to work on.

  16. Rehmat Ali Jaffer Ali Dost needs no introduction. His name will be written in golden words in the history of Chitral as an environmental activist. Our prayers are with him. Edwin Way Teale rightly said, “Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.” Mr Rehmat Ali has rightly said the timber mafia is snatching our resources in many shapes and local government has failed to stop it, rather keeping a soft corner for the big criminals and has given them free hands.
    Marya Mannes said, “The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.”

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