CHITRAL, July 26: There are two kinds of laws: one for the poor and the other for the ruling elite — whether in Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab or Sindh. And it is the commoner who always comes under the net of the law; the powerful and well-connected elite class have never been brought under this net; they have no respect for the law of the “land of the pure”.
In Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, the irony of the fact is that the ruling families of the princely states which were abolished in the early ’70s are still calling all the shots and enjoy the backing and patronisation of the Pakistani Establishment and mainstream ruling class political parties in grab public offices and jobs. The judiciary and police also favour the remnants of the rotten system.
This fact can be gauged from a recent incident occurred in Chitral. According to media reports police have arrested 22 people including leaders and activists of almost all political parties and local bodies representatives from Latokoh village of Karimabad town of Chitral, and booked 200 others on various trumped up charges of serious nature.
According to media reports, police arrested 24 people including leaders and activists of almost all political parties and local bodies representatives from Karimabad town of Chitral and sent to jail. Over 150 others have been booked on various trumped-up charges of serious nature.
According to sources, Prince Haiderul Mulk, a member of the former ruling family of Chitral, in collusion with the police, lodged a complaint against the local population for allegedly their involvement in violence, theft and slaughtering of goats.
The local population had imposed a ban on overgrazing and chopping of trees in the summer pastures. These pastures and green valleys have witnessed massive destructions in recent years due to floods, avalanches and landslides. Environmental experts and local elders blame climate change, illegal felling of trees and overgrazing for this phenomena. In the 2015 disaster, Avi village was totally washed away by floods including the historic fort in Shaghor owned by the prince. The local people blame thou sands of goats and sheep of the prince kept on the upper valley of Susum.
The “Prince” in violation of the ban first transported over 350 goats and sheep to his house Sosum, the last village of Karimabad, and kept them in the confines of his property. But later on, he took the herd to the pasture land which has a collective ownership of the cluster of villages of Karimabad where the community has planted saplings to mitigate the natural disasters. The people of Sosoom shifted the herds of goat and sheep safely to the Shaghor police station. In response to this, the prince lodged a complaint in the police station against the entire local political and social activists of Karimabad union council accusing them of rioting, chaos and harming his livestock using his political clout.
Local political and social activists have condemned the action of the so-called prince and the local police for victimising the people and violating a ban on grazing of livestock in the summer pastures. They accused the deputy commissioner and police high-ups of Chitral for favouring the prince and harassing the local people. They also blamed the former royal family of Chitral for fuelling the fire. They demanded an immediate release of the arrested people and withdrawal of fake cases against them.