A M Khan
News about a land dispute between locals of Madaklasht and Pashtun settlers, said to be from Dir, triggered tension in the area. The dispute involved a pasture land in Banda, Madaklasht, Lower Chitral, and a stream flowing from it.
According to the provisional summary result of 6th population and housing census 2017, out of the 447,362 total population of Chitral, Madaklasht had 752 households with 5,488 people.
The area is quite vast above human settlement and the uninhabited land has been under the utilization of the local people as pasture collectives.
Soon after the clash between the two sides on June 9, youth of Madaklasht reached out to the wider populace in Chitral, the district administration and police to lodge an FIR against Zaram Khan and his men who opened fire on the locals.
It is pertinent to mention that the land dispute between the two parties (locals of Madaklasht and Zaram Khan) had started in 2003. At that time, it was resolved through a Jirga in which both the sides agreed on the right of possession of the lands on their respective site.
On June 9, some young men wanted to bring water from the stream for irrigation but in order to push them back, Zaram Khan and his men opened fire on them in which four men were injured and admitted to the THQ hospital Drosh.
The following day, reports of intimidation, roadblocks, leaving locals hostage and kidnapping of passengers on their way to homes from Chitral were also reported from Madaklasht.
The First Information Report (FIR) was lodged by Nazir Ur Rehman (on June 10) at Drosh police station against Zaram, Zahir Khan and sons, Gul Muhammad, and Munawar.
A day after the incident, responding to the news report, a counter presser in which Umra Khan, a man from Zarar Khan side, claimed that 150 people of Madaklasht ransacked his property, damaged crops and beat and kidnapped their men.
Following the situation, the AC Drosh, Abdul Haq, said he was waiting for the police and settlement report in the light of land records to settle the case between the locals of Madaklasht and Zaram Khan.
The uncertainty and clash between the two sides after the settlement of the dispute in 2003 appears intriguing. The issue should be resolved through a fact-finding commission and in accordance with the law.