Tuesday, April 25, 2017

سپریم کورٹ نے پشاوراورسندھ ہائی کورٹس کی جانب سےاقلیتوں کےاندراج کیلئے فارم میں کالم کے اضافے کا فیصلہ بھی معطل کردیا

مردم شماری فارم میں سکھ مذہب کا خانہ شامل کرنے کا فیصلہ معطل

اسلام آباد: سپریم کورٹ آف پاکستان نے ملک میں جاری حالیہ مردم شماری کے فارم پر سکھ مذہب کے خانے کو شامل کرنے کے حوالے سے پشاور ہائی کورٹ کے فیصلے کو معطل کردیا۔
پاکستان کی سرکاری نیوز ایجنسی اے پی پی کی رپورٹ کے مطابق چیف جسٹس میاں ثاقب نثار کی سربراہی میں سپریم کورٹ کے 3 رکنی بینچ نے پاکستان کے محکمہ شماریات (پی بی ایس) کے چیف کمشنر مردم شماری آصف باجوہ کی دائر کردہ پٹیشن کی سماعت کی، جس میں پشاور ہائی کورٹ کا فیصلہ چیلنج کیا گیا تھا۔
پشاور ہائی کورٹ نے اپنے فیصلے میں پی بی ایس کو ہدایات جاری کی تھیں کہ مردم شماری کے فارم میں تبدیلی کرکے اس میں سکھ مذہب کے اندراج کیلئے ایک کالم کا اضافہ کیا جائے۔
مردم شماری چیف کمشنر آصف باجوہ کا کہنا تھا کہ ماضی میں مذکورہ فارم میں اس قسم کی کوئی چیز شامل نہیں کی گئی ہے، جس کی وجہ سے بینچ نے فارم میں مذکورہ ممکنہ اضافے کے حوالے سے سوالات اٹھائے ہیں جبکہ مردم شماری جاری ہے۔
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ 1981 میں ملک میں ہونے والی مردم شماری کے مطابق سکھ برادری سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد کی تعداد 0.003 فیصد تھی، مردم شماری کے دوران اور خاص طور پر اس موقع پر فارم میں اس قسم کی تبدیلی ممکن نہیں ہے۔
سپریم کورٹ کے بینچ نے دلائل سننے کے بعد پشاور ہائی کورٹ کا فیصلہ معطل کرنے کا حکم جاری کیا اور کیس کی سماعت کو غیر معینہ مدت کیلئے ملتوی کردیا۔
عدالت کا کہنا تھا کہ مردم شماری 63 اضلاع میں مکمل ہونے جارہی ہے اور اس موقع پر مردم شماری کے فارم میں اس قسم کی تبدیلی کرنا نا ممکن ہے۔
اس کے علاوہ عدالت نے سندھ اور پشاور ہائی کورٹس کی جانب سے مردم شماری فارم میں اقلیتوں کیلئے علیحدہ کالم کے اضافے کے فیصلے کو بھی معطل کردیا۔
خیال رہے کہ 22 مارچ 2017 کو پشاور ہائی کورٹ نے محکمہ شماریات کو مردم شماری کے دوسرے مرحلے میں سکھ مذہب کا خانہ شامل کرنے کا حکم دیا تھا۔
سکھ برادری کی جانب سے دائر کی گئی پٹیشن کی سماعت چیف جسٹس پشاور ہائی کورٹ یحییٰ آفریدی کی سربراہی میں 2 رکنی بینچ نے کی تھی۔
محکمہ شماریات کی جانب سے ممبر حبیب اللہ عدالت میں پیش ہوئے اور عدالت عالیہ کو بتایا کہ مردم شماری کا پہلا مرحلہ جاری ہے جس کے باعث سکھ مذہب کا کالم فارم میں شامل نہیں کرسکتے۔
خیال رہے کہ پہلے مرحلے میں ملک کے 63 اضلاع میں جاری مردم شماری کے فارم میں سکھوں کی آبادی کا صحیح اندازہ لگانے کے لیے ’مذہب‘ کے خانے میں ’سکھ‘ کا آپشن نہ رکھنے پر سکھ برادری نالاں نظر آتی ہے۔
Source: https://www.dawnnews.tv/news/1056540/

Friday, April 21, 2017

Peshawar High Court orders govt to include Kalasha religion in census

Peshawar High Court orders govt to include Kalasha religion in census

UPDATED APR 04, 2017 01:16PM

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to include the Kalasha religion on the national census form prior to the second phase of the exercise starting April 25.
A two-judge bench of the PHC announced the order while hearing a writ petition filed by members of the Kalash community. The government was represented in court by the deputy attorney general.
Sabir Awan, the petitioner's lawyer, informed the court that the Kalash people subscribe to one of the oldest known religions of the region, and that their members continue to live in three remote villages in district Chitral.
Awan cautioned that exclusion of the religion from the census form would be an injustice to the community and a violation of law, which guarantees equal rights to all its citizens. He pointed out that almost all major religions were included in the form except Kalash.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the court directed the government to include the Kalash religion on the census form before April 25.
Members of the Kalash community present at the court appreciated the decision.
"It's a landmark decision and is a victory for the people of Kalash," Wazir Zada, a member of Kalash told Dawn.
Earlier in February, the people of Chitral had threatened to boycott the census for omitting the Kalasha religion and 13 other languages being spoken in the district from the enumeration form.
Representatives of the Kalash community were reported to have warned that the tribe was already endangered and their exclusion from the census database would create further complications, especially with regards to their size and strength.
Currently, the Kalash tribe is estimated to be around 3,500-4,000 strong.
Described as an “anthropological enigma”, the Kalash community is more than a magnet for local and international tourism.
Dwelling in the folds of the stony Hindu Kush mountains, the tribe draws its lineage from the ancient Middle East or even from soldiers of Alexander the Great's army, academics have speculated.
Kalasha, the religion followed by Kalash community, lies between Islam and and an ancient form of Hinduism.
Their ritualistic ceremonies serve as a potent reminder of the region's pre-Islamic past.
However, in recent years, there has been a sense of existential insecurity surrounding the tribe and its cultural identity.
Source:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1324805

Pakistan's Forgotten Pagans Get Their Due (Towards Cultural Identity)

Pakistan's Forgotten Pagans Get Their Due (Towards Cultural Identity)
And finally the Kalasha people are on the move regarding their cultural identity
Go to link for the story
https://www.rferl.org/a/28439107.html

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pakistan's Kalasha people fear for their way of life as climate changes for worse


Pakistan's Kalasha people fear for their way of life as climate changes for worse

Chitral, Pakistan: For Akram Hussain, unprecedented monsoon floods that drenched his Hindu Kush mountain valley this year were a danger to more than just homes and crops.
His 4,000-strong Kalasha people, who live in three remote valleys in north-west Pakistan, preserve an ancient way of life, including animist beliefs at odds with Pakistan's dominant Islamic state religion. That has led to threats by the Taliban, who call them kafirs, or non-believers.
Outsiders, looking for arable land, also have increasingly moved into their high mountain valleys.
Now, worsening extreme weather linked to climate change is making efforts to preserve the old ways even harder, the Kalasha say.
"Our culture and language were already under threat and now these floods have devastated half our valley," Hussain said.
Torrential rainfall in July in the district - an area that usually falls outside Pakistan's monsoon belt - sent floodwater pouring down steep mountainsides, damaging infrastructure in the valleys of Bumburet and Rumbur.
Birir, the third valley inhabited by the Kalasha, was spared.
The floods damaged tourist hotels, shops and houses near the nullah (mountain stream) on the valley floor and swept away crops of ripe maize and orchards full of fruit trees.
"This winter is going to be very difficult for us," Hussain said.
Around the world, extreme weather and rising seas linked to climate change are presenting a growing threat not just to lives and homes but to cultures, from nomads in the drought-hit Sahel to Pacific Islanders who fear the loss of their entire nations.
Descendants of Alexander the great?
For Pakistan's Kalasha, struggling to preserve their culture is nothing new. They are the last survivors of the people of Kafiristan, who were mostly converted to Islam in the nineteenth century.
Their neighbours across the mountains, in the Afghan province of Nuristan, are the Taliban, who hold sway in parts of that country.
Among the Kalasha, prayers are offered during festivities that commemorate the changing seasons. Their elaborate rites demand the sacrifice of dozens of goats, which is becoming increasingly expensive, particularly as crops are destroyed by extreme weather.
"When the livestock comes down for the winter what are we going to feed them? If our livestock goes, our culture goes," Hussain said.
In Bumburet Valley, the Kalasha Cultural Centre, built by the Greek government in 2004, houses an impressive museum of Kalash artefacts,  including colourful embroidered clothes, musical instruments, jewellery and wooden sculptures.
Greek interest in the Kalasha stems from the belief that they are descendants of the army of Alexander the Great which marched through these mountains centuries ago.
The centre was spared by the floods, thanks to a strong stone wall built around its perimeters.
For the most part, the effects of climate change simply compound other problems the Kalasha have faced recently as migrants move into their valleys.
"Some of these migrants are brainwashing the Kalash people.
There have been several conversions to Islam this year alone," Hussain said.
The winter ahead - when the valleys are cut off from the rest of the country by snow - will be long and hard this year, the Kalasha warn.
In the village of Krakal, Shahida, a young Kalash woman explains: "We live on goat's milk, cheese and beans during the winter months. Now with our crops washed away by the floods and no fodder for our livestock we are very worried."
The sturdy traditional construction of the Kalash homes helped them to survive the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck the Hindu Kush on 26 October, although some have cracks that must be repaired before winter.
Most Kalash homes were also spared by the summer floods as they are built higher up on the mountainsides. But some tourist hotels and other buildings were washed away.
Deforestation problems
With all the reconstruction that will take place before the winter snow arrives in December, even more trees will be felled to rebuild hotels and houses. Shahida feels that deforestation is a part of the problem in the Kalash valleys.
"I think the main reason for the floods is the cutting of trees. There were so many forests up in the high pastures and they are gone now. If the government cannot control deforestation the floods will keep coming and become more severe," she said.
The Bumburet valley attracts thousands of tourists each year who come to see the Kalasha, especially during their festivals, when there is dancing and mulberry wine flows.
For many years, Greek volunteers would travel to the Kalash valleys to help with construction and other charitable work that contributed to their cultural preservation.
In 2009, one volunteer was kidnapped by the Taliban and released only after eight months in captivity. No further volunteers have come from Greece since then.
"That was a big blow to our community since he was doing good work for the Kalasha. The second blow was when one of our shepherds was brutally murdered on the border with Nuristan a few years ago. Luckily the army has moved in and we have better security now," said Shahida.
A military camp and new police station have sprung up in the last couple of years. The army is currently repairing roads and bridges destroyed by the floods, and they also patrol the high mountain border with Nuristan.
But "it's not the Taliban that is the main threat," said Quaid-e-Azam, a Kalash community leader from Rumbur Valley. "It is climate change. We need to start planning for future disasters, otherwise life is going to be very difficult for us."
Source:
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/pakistanafghanistan/358297/pakistan-s-kalasha-people-fear-for-their-way-of-life-as-climate-changes-for-worse

Fear the wrath of God

Fear the wrath of God
What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common?
Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open.
“Look what the Kalash have done now”
In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game.
It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. In the aftermath of tragedy, our coalition of reasoning has a total breakdown. We remember we are conquerable, mere mortals and this terrifies us, leaving us with few answers and many fears.
And so, we turn on each other.
After 9/11 an American pastor proposed that the terror acts happened because God was angry with Americans over abortions.
In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one of five deadliest hurricanes in American history, a televangelist observed God had let it happen because of America’s descent into immorality. According to him the natural disaster was proof that the “judgment of America (had) begun”. The same year, a Buddhist monk blamed the Indian Ocean earthquake-generated tsunamis on the Christians. According to the monk, the natural disaster had taken place the day after Christmas because too many Christians had slaughtered animals and consumed their meat for the holiday.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake in which 316,000 lives were lost, a prominent rabbi reasoned that God Almighty was obviously sending a message to the gays in the US military. In 2011 the State of Virginia was struck by an earthquake, which took no lives but caused $300 million dollars in damage. The same rabbi again pinpointed homosexuality as the cause. This time he was a tad bit more diplomatic by specifically asking the “gays not to take it personally (because) this is just God doing what God does”.
The Blame Game
In Pakistan, we like to rotate the scapegoats of our blame game.
Some of the favourite contestants favoured by Pakistani conspiracy theorists are (in no particular order) the Indians, Amreekis (Americans), religious fundamentalists, or, as seen in the recent case following this year’s earthquake, the Kalash ‘kafirs’ infiltrating Pakistan who – despite being a minority of 3,500 in a country of 182 million – are apparently capable of bringing forth the scourge of God.
Or, I don’t know, maybe, there was an earthquake because of an immense build-up of geologic pressure at a subduction zone between two colliding tectonic plates or whatever.
The average reader may not even know who or what a Kalash is.
After all, they are fairly confined to their tribal lifestyle centred in the northern valleys of Pakistan. Plus, there’s only like, 3,500 of them and Pakistan’s a fairly populated place so – unless you’ve snuck up to the mountains for mini-Las Vegas style getaway with booze, beautiful women, and dancing – chances are you don’t actually know a real life Kalash outside of Google Images.
The Kalasha are Pakistan’s smallest non-Muslim community. They reside primarily in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa(K-P). They are polytheists and nature is a big part of their spiritual and daily life. A recent DNA analysis has confirmed the Kalashas are likely descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers. Their laws are highly unique compared to the rest of Pakistan, which is predominantly governed by a combination of Shariah and British common law. Alcohol is not forbidden to them. Divorce is easy enough for Kalasha women looking to change spouses. They must simply write a letter to the prospective new spouse offering herself in marriage and ask that the prospective purchase her at a higher price than the current spouse. Gender segregation is not a part of the daily life of the Kalash. Neither is veiling.
The Kalash are a unique and fascinating people. They are capable of many things. They make their own wine (known as tara), their own recreational drugs (nazar, an opiate-based chewing tobacco is a favourite), they have their own music and even their own set of laws (meaning they are outside the ambit of Shariah law which controls the rest of us Pakistanis).
What the Kalash are not capable of is singlehandedly inviting the wrath of any particular deity or God. And they certainly do not have control of the three colliding tectonic plates (Indian, Eurasian and Arabian) that Pakistan sits on top of and frequently is destroyed by.
Divine Intervention not Divine Retribution
Natural disasters are disruptive. And with this physical disruption comes the disruption of people’s worldviews. The weak, vulnerable and scared are the perfect target for theological institutions looking to win new believers. Combine a vulnerable population with the double-edged sword that is social media and what you have is a platform allowing aggressive, fanatic, and downright lunatic religious zealots to circulate their inflammatory ‘this is God’s wrath’ and ‘they caused this earthquake because they drink and party’ slogans. With emotions already high following the loss of loved ones and destruction of homes and livelihoods, it becomes too easy for a select few incendiaries to drive the country and its otherwise sane citizens towards irrational hysteria.
This unrelenting routine is now the unfortunate norm, which unfolds in Pakistan following a mass-scale tragedy. Instead of endeavouring to repair broken communities, the rhetoric that arises by the right-wing, hardliners results in a damaging blowback, which only leaves already-shattered communities further fragmented and striated.
Instead of a coherent analysis of what happened (an earthquake), and a reasonable response (rally together as a nation, help one another out), we’re left with a gang of bullies – ideologically incompetents hell bent on insisting that the earth’s inevitable shifting process is actually a frightening display of the powers of an evil, angry God.
The valley of the Kalash was once dominated by mostly the Kalash and moderate Ismailis. Today, as a result of migration and forced conversion, the Kalash are few in number compared to a flourishing Sunni majority.
Absolute domination by the majority has left newer generation of the Kalash slowly losing a rich culture and unique religion. The handful left behind face a daily conundrum; convert to Islam or face death, stop production of your wine or be sent to hell by the will of God, cover your women or face hell fire for all of eternity.
Yes, there are faults in the earth’s crust. Yes, weather patterns cause torrential rains and winds.
Yes, this is not Pakistan’s first devastating earthquake. And, yes, sadly this is likely not her last.
In the meantime, as winter fast approaches with both the Kalash and Muslims of Chitral currently exposed to the elements, let’s open our wallets, our hearts, and our homes. And, this time, let’s aim at seeking divine intervention instead of divine retribution.
Source:
http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/30316/fear-the-wrath-of-god/