CHITRAL, July 31: The 24 political workers and social activists from Lotkoh, Karimabad Union Council of Chitral District, who had been detained four days ago, were released from jail on interim bail on Monday.
They were freed from the Chitral Central Jail after a local court accepted their interim bail pleas.
They were granted The Chitral police had arrested 24 people including leaders and activists of almost all political parties and local bodies’ representatives from Lotkoh village of Karimabad and booked 200 others on various trumped-up charges of serious nature.
They were detained on the complaint of Dr Haiderul Mulk, a member of the former ruling family of Chitral, he had lodged at the Shoghor police station accusing them of inciting violence and harming his goats and sheep.
The “Prince” in violation of a ban imposed by the people of Karimabad UC on grazing in the upper pastures, first transported over 350 goats and sheep to his property at Susum, the last village of Karimabad. Later on, he took the herd to the pasture which has a collective ownership of the cluster of villages of Karimabad UC. The local population removed the herd of goats and sheep of the prince from the upper summer pastures and safely handed over to the Shaghor police.
In response to this, the prince lodged a complaint in the police station against the political and social activists of Karimabad union council accusing them of inciting violence, rioting and harming his livestock using his political clout. This created a tense situation in the valley.
Local political and social activists had condemned the action of the so-called prince and the local police for victimising the people and violating the local traditions and law on grazing in the summer pastures. They accused the deputy commissioner and police high-ups of Chitral for backing the prince and harassing the local people. They also blamed the former royal family of Chitral for fuelling the fire and had demanded an immediate release of the arrested people and withdrawal of fake cases against them.
The upper pastures and valleys of Karimabad have witnessed massive destructions in recent years due to floods, avalanches and landslides caused by climate change. Environmental experts and local elders blame, illegal felling of trees and overgrazing in the area for this phenomena.
In the 2015 torrential rain and disaster, Avi village was totally washed away by floods including a fort in Shaghor owned by the prince. The local people blame thousands of goats and sheep of the prince kept on the upper valley of Susum.