Assault on the Indigenous
Kalash People of Chitral, Pakistan
We the Indigenous Kalash people of Chitral are under siege due to the
onslaught of tourism and hotel businesses. The Pakistan Tourism
Development Corporation (PTOC), along with Pakistan Internation
Airlines (PIA), are both corporations that are using the Kalash people
as free commercial material to promote tourist
business around the world.
The numbers of tourists are increasing every year, making our lives
miserable; however, the assault does not stop here. The rich businessmen
from mainland Pakistan* saw the tourism potential. They began to
build hotel/motels in the tiny Kalash valley by taking over the
indigenous people's lands. The hotel owners cut down the orchards
and dismantled sacred landmarks of the Kalash people for hotel/motel sites.
The hotels are contaminating the potable water, polluting the Kalash
valleys with empty cans, bottles, broken glass, and plastic waste left
behind by the tourists in the hotels. The Kalash valleys are tiny and
there is no place to dump the refuse, so hotel owners are dumping the
garbage into the drinking water, which comes from glacial melting.
The tremendous pressure from the tourists upon the Kalash people is
unbearable, but the worst part is played out by the inconsiderate mainland
Pakistani hotel owners who have put irreversible, deterioratmg effects
on the Kalash environment!
Food, fuel, firewood and other daily necessities are becoming scarce
to our people, due to big buying demands from the hotel owners.
The prices of commodities have risen considerably, bringing hardship
upon the indigenous people. Cameras aiming at them, the tourists jump out
of jeeps and turn the peacful valley into a zoo. It is becoming almost
impossible for us to keep our identity, traditions, and values intact,
which we have done for thousands of years. The Indigenous Kalash people
are on the brink of extinction, due to the constant onslaught of tourists
and greedy hotel owners from Pakistan.
We, the Kalash people, appeal to the you, our indigenous brothers and
sisters, and all people worldwide, for your help. Please appeal to the Pakistani
government to help us remove these hotels from our midst.
We also appeal to the PTDC hotel and all tour guides to advise tourists
to boycott these hotels and help us to return the valley of Chitral
to their rightful owners, the Kalash people!