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No room for Kalash caste, religion

By Zahiruddin
CHITRAL, Feb 28: Members of the Kalash community have complained that the computerised national identity cards issued by the National Database Registration Authority to them have no mention of their religion and caste.

These people live in Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur, three valleys in the south of Chitral, and are known for their unique and primitive culture.
Luke Rehmat, a Kalash youngster with a university education, said the Kalash people were in distress over wrong mention of their religion and caste in CNICs.He said Nadra database currently showed Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam as their religion and Afridi, Shinwari, Awan, Mengal and others as their castes.

Mr Rehmat said compilers of Nadra database had ignored the fact that the Kalash people possessed a distinct religion and caste, Kalash, and their repeated requests to the relevant authorities for the corrective step had fallen on deaf ears.
He said the Kalash population in the three valleys was 4,100 and more than 1,000 of them possessed CNICs and other documents, which didn’t rightly show their religion and caste.
“It will be easier for us to get a visa for European countries if our religion and caste are mentioned in our CNICs and documents,” he said. Mr Rehmat said before the introduction of CNICs, Kalash people’s national identity cards issued by the interior ministry had a mention of their religion and that foreign embassies gave special consideration to their application for foreign trips due to that.
“I have nothing to prove my caste and religion as for Nadra record,” he said. He said if Nadra didn’t recognise the religion and caste of Kalash people, then members of the community would continue to be without proper identity.–Dawn

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