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Qaqlasht festival dampened by low turnout

BOONI: It was quite a dull show on the inaugural day. The otherwise lush green meadow of Qaqlasht looked devoid of greenery and full of dust due to a lack of rain this year.

People of Booni had been demanding that the annual festival should be delayed for a few more weeks and first the Shiphishun festival should be organized instead. But the district administration went ahead and started it on Thursday.

On the inaugural day, the deputy commissioner of Chitral, Irshad Sodhar, turned up quite late to inaugurate the event while the opening was scheduled to take place at 10am.
Qaqlasht festival dampened by low turnout Adding to this was a decision taken by scores of civil society organizations working for the promotion and preservation of the Kho culture to boycott the annual event held basically to highlight, promote and preserve Chitral’s culture and folk games/songs.

At a meeting, representatives of the civil society organizations said since 2005 the civil society of Chitral had been organizing the annual event. But as the festival gained popularity the district administration and other government departments jumped in and took it over as hosts. Since then, the festival has been losing its traditional colour.

This year, the local administration even did not bother to take the cultural organizations of Chitral on board and handed over the whole affairs to a non-representative person to organize the festival. The representatives of Anjuma Taraqi-e-Khowar, Khowar Qalam Qabila, Khowar Ahle Qalam, MIER, Naan Doshi School Chitral, Chitral Youth Club and Sahara Chitral announced to boycott the festival.

They also called upon artists and players of Chitral to boycott the festival to send out a strong message to the government that without their participation the basic purpose of the festival would never achieve its desired results.

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