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21 February 2020

Deforestation Activists in Chitral Warn Jail Bharo Agitation

Chitral— The residents of Ayun Valley of Chitral warned local administration that they will wreak trouble by initiating Jail Bharo agitation. They held a public meeting at Ayun under the chair of Qazi Maulana Yakhya. The meeting was attended by a large number of politicians and village elites. They intended to protest but called it off due to Section 144 which is in effect currently in the valley.

Earlier they held a peaceful rally to record their protest. Speakers echoed that the local administration should immediately release community members who have been unlawfully arrested for raising voice against deforestation. They urged the government to understand the delicate issue and make arrangements to ban deforestation which endangers echo life in Chitral.  

The people, initially rallying against deforestation, are now struggling to release their colleagues. The district administration of Chitral had lodged FIR against 53 activists who were protesting against deforestation. 20 of them are still in the custody of the local administration. They were in prison even on the day of Eid, a sacred Muslim holiday. The village activists are jailed under the controversial Anti Terrorist Act, on mere charges of public assembly. ‘ No vandalism or damage to public property was inflicted’  Speakers here told.  

Residents at this latest gathering have given one week deadline to the local administration for catering their demands and for the release of their fellows. ‘They will, otherwise, come on the streets with a Jail Bharo (fill the prisons) movement.’’ Speakers warned.

Those who spoke on the occasion were Abul Wali Khan Advocate, distinct president of Pakistan Qaumi Party, Maghfirat Shah, former District Nazim Chitral, Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk former Tehsil Nazim Mastuj.

Sartar Ahmad Khan former Tehsil Nazim Chitral, Sardar Ahmad khan Assistant Commissioner(Ret.) and village notables were also present. They speakers warn that no alteration will be  made in deadline already given..

It is worth to note that any public protest in Chitral is considered illegal if is held without written permission of the Military Commander of Chitral Scouts or the DCO. 

G.H.Farooqui has contributed to this story from Chitral Pakistan
Photo Credits: 
G.H.Farooqui © 2012, Ayun