CHITRAL, Feb 24: A delegation of the Ismaili Muslims here on Sunday informed Commissioner Malakand Division Qasim Jan that the Sunnis and Ismailis of Chitral have lived in peace and harmony for centuries. During a meeting with the commissioner at the Governor Cottage, the Ismaili delegation said the people of Chitral, both Ismailis and the Sunnis, have very positive thinking about each other and this was evident from the fact that Chitral was the only district in the Malakand division which was not affected by the rising militancy and Talibanization in the region. The Ismaili delegation included Ismaili Council Lower Chitral president Muhammad Afzal, Upper Chitral president Abdul Ghaffar, Sultan Mehmood, Samad Gul, Zufran Shah, Nizar Ali Shah, Mir Zaman, advocates Shahabuddin, Sahib Nadir Khan, Siraj Ali Khan and Muhammad Karam. Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Sultan Mehmood highlighted the services of the Ismailis right from the Pakistan Movement when the 48th Imam Aga Khan III led the All Pakistan Muslim League from 1906 to 1913 and his contribution in the Aligarh Movement. He said since independence in 1947, the Ismailis have been playing a key role in the development of the country. The most important thing is that the current spiritual leader of the Ismailis, Prince Karim Aga Khan, has not only been emphasizing socio-economic development of the marginalized communities in the backward areas irrespective of their sectarian affiliations but also been guiding the Ismaili community to live in peace even with non-Muslims.
Over 99 per cent of people in Chitral are peaceful and have a very positive thinking of each other and that is the reason there has never been any major conflict among the local communities, Sultan Mehmood.But he regretted that despite such a contribution to the making and building of the country, the Ismailis were being threatened by a handful of terror elements in the name of Islam and there identity as a key Muslim community was at danger. During the meeting, some of the participants said the government should keep a vigil eye on a handful of elements who often tried to spoil the exemplary peace of the area. In this regard, they specially stressed the monitoring of FM-97 radio channel which was sometimes airing programmes that could stoke sectarian tension in the area. They gave the example of Taliban in Swat where the militants also launched their activities through an FM radio channel. The participants said sometimes the FM channel in Chitral aired programmes during which sectarian-related objectionable questions were raised and deliberately highlighted. On the request of the delegation, the commissioner said the police directions issued to individual community leaders to install CCTV cameras in their residences and offices would be withdrawn as it would not be possible for them to arrange the equipment. The delegation said such a directive could lead to unnecessary panic and tension among the community in the valley. They also said that any security measure for their security should be taken and finalized after taking the community leaders on board. The delegation thanked the commissioner for visiting the district. Speaking on the occasion, the commissioner said he Ismailis were the most peaceful among the Muslims and their contribution in the creation of Pakistan and then its development was recognized by everyone. He said that the government was duty bound to provide security to the citizens irrespective of their political and religious affiliations. He added that an unnecessary hype had been created in the area on the basis of an outdated video.]]>