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Redemption of walnut trees

Former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had started giving us back our trees after paying outsiders a large sum of money. However, it all ended after his government was toppled. It was in 1975 that on the demand of the local people, the then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had ordered to redeem the walnut trees from the outsiders and return them to their real owners so that they could be strengthened financially. The plan was discontinued later on when Martial Law imposed on the country. A retired official of revenue department, Khosh Mohammad, said in 1980, the walnut tree redemption plan was revived due to the personal interest of then deputy commissioner Chitral Shakil Durrani. He said with the meagre allocations for the plan, tens of families were able to redeem their walnut trees. “Former president Pervez Musharraf restarted the process when he visited the valley but it was discontinued very soon. Few villages had benefited from the initiative,” he said. The former official said walnut trees in Kalash valleys formed the major source of income due to the high rising prices of walnut in the market and three to four trees of walnut were enough to be a source of sustenance for a Kalash family which necessitated their redemption from outsiders to wipe out abject poverty. Wazir Zada Kalash, a young educated person from Bumburate valley, said walnut trees standing on the fields hampered the growth of the crop grown on it, while no fresh sapling could be planted beneath the old trees. “A Kalash will have to wait for 120 years as a walnut tree takes such a length of time and it will take half a century more to see the Kalash valleys free from the mortgaged trees of walnut owned by the outsiders,” he said. He said with the advent of modern times and prosperity in the valley, the sale of walnut trees had discontinued. The youngster said an endowment fund should be established for immediately redeeming the mortgaged walnut trees of Kalash from outsiders. When contacted, deputy commissioner Osama Ahmed Warraich expressed ignorance about the matter. He said he was posted to the district recently and was engaged in disaster management so he didn’t get a chance to look into the matter.–Dawn]]>

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