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Chitral’s moral compass

Aqib Ullah (Jangbazar Chitral)

Spending money on poor people to serve humanity is not worthy of criticism, but when it’s done to buy them and undermine their self-respect, then it becomes a significant social issue. We are taught in schools, mosques, and other institutions that nothing is greater than a person’s dignity and that it’s not for sale. However, with great remorse, it can now be said that what we were taught was wrong, and everything is purchasable here, if the amount is mammoth.

What we have witnessed since the announcement of elections is utterly below the belt. How we, Chitralis, have tarnished our reputation during these few days, it seems to me that it will take many decades to regain the respect we used to feel proud of as Chitralis.

After watching a few videos circulating on social media, I feel at a loss for words to express my despair over the attitude of our brothers and sisters, the way they’re sacrificing their self-respect for a sack of flour, packets of sweets, and a few notes.

What has happened to us? We were neither that poor nor devoid of self-respect. The way the candidate of JUI is distributing money should not be our concern, but the response we are giving is utterly below the belt. Didn’t we use to claim to be people filled with values and ethics? Weren’t we people of honor? Weren’t our examples given to other people?

And the clerics, who are considered the backbone of this place and whose respect is ingrained in us from the day we were born, have become silent bystanders instead of taking action and guiding people. Many are, actually, supporting the action of distributing money to buy votes, which was called bribery a few years ago. Is it hypocrisy, or has it become socially acceptable? Who will help us comprehend? And what about the Hadith found in every board paper, “The person giving a bribe and the person taking it, both will be sent to hell.”

It’s imperative to address this issue to save the image of this place and regain what we have lost in a few weeks. The onus is on the well-learned proponents of JUI to put their personal benefits on the back burner and show some courage if they are genuinely concerned about the culture of Chitral and the dignity of its residents.

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