Stories about Chitral

Pakistan’s melting glaciers: Our climate change crisis will destabilise Asia’s rivers

Pakistan is fortunate to be home to three great mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. In fact, on the drive up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Gilgit, I often stop at a place near Jaglote town where these three ranges actually meet. One can see the grand vista from the road, which could easily be missed if not for a sign nearby which reads, “The junction point of the three mightiest mountain ranges of the world.” The Karakoram includes the K2, the world’s second-highest peak, and is the most heavily glaciated area on the planet apart ...

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When hospital waste is disposed off in the Chitral River – because who cares, right?

A video recently became viral in which an official from the Chitral Health Department is seen disposing off a van full of hospital waste in the already ecologically threatened Chitral River. At a time when pollution and global warming is already causing environmental disasters, this video is yet another example to what extent humans are responsible for causing these disasters. Anyone in their right mind would know how lethal healthcare waste is, considering used medical instruments, especially needles, contain various types of bacteria and viruses. The healthcare waste generated from healthcare facilities is not only hazardous for the environment, but poses a serious threat to ...

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Chitral’s natural beauty can stun anyone into silence

When I was going to Chitral to cover the aftermath of the Shandur Polo Festival 2016, I had no idea what the region had in store for me. When you have space for one story from a region that is generally under-represented, it is inevitable that the most appalling one wins placement. There is so much more to Chitral than just forced marriages and floods. Whether you are strolling in a bazaar or sitting on a hill overlooking Tirich Mir from the royal abode of the mehtar, the city and its people will force you to extend your trip. The ...

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The long road home: A journey from Chitral to Islamabad

It’s a journey that gives perspective to your life. The endlessness of the Qaqlasht mountain meadows, the sky and the snow-capped peaks make you feel very small. The story of Qurban, an illiterate lady in the village of Booni – who runs three shops and supports the education of her nieces and nephews despite having been threatened by an acid attack, makes you realise how quotidian your own challenges are. And the cancellation of the flight to Islamabad with the prospect of being stranded in a dark, brown, tube-lit, hotel room in Chitral – beautiful though the town is ...

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Have all the parties concerned in the case for PIA really lost it?

The business of the state is to run the state and to govern it for greater public good. There are no two opinions about this. That, in this day and age of corporatisation and decentralisation, means the state should not be running banks, airlines and factories. Rather it should focus on setting up regulatory authorities and let them run companies which provide these professional services. The jury is still out on the economics of privatisation of State assets. The previous examples of PTCL and UBL are being bandied about on how the imperatives of transparency and profitability were bypassed. But what about the ...

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You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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Why are our earthquake survivors left to die in the cold?

Those who did not die in the quake will die as ‘survivors’ forced to live in the cold, stressed and without shelter. Their immune systems vulnerable, their bodies exposed to so many dangers, what chance have we given them. That’s what happened to five-month-old Arshad Ali whose house was flattened on October 26, 2015.  Anyone too young, too old, sick or pregnant who is a ‘survivor’ has no chance of surviving in a tent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) winter. If anyone thinks change is afoot in K-P, they need to take a look when Khan Sahib or Raheel Sharif are not visiting. That is ...

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Why the floods in Chitral are not a natural calamity

Last week marked the most devastating surge of floods in Chitral in over a decade. The destruction has been, according to the word of mouth, “everywhere and colossal”. Infrastructure has been grounded, a number of roads have almost disappeared, electricity has been out for days, and for days to come, clean drinking water will be a scarce commodity. People living along the river bank have lost their homes and land, and economic activities in majority of the areas have been hampered. As many as 60,000 people have been displaced in 26 flood-hit villages. While we have heard stories of unbelievably huge floods from our parents and grandparents, ...

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It is time to give back to the Ismaili community

“If people have made mistakes, forgive their mistakes. If people have harmed you, forget and forgive. Do not hold grudges, do not turn around and say, ‘he hurt me yesterday so I will hurt him today’. This is not the spirit of Islam” – The Aga Khan IV “I have lost friends. I don’t know how I should react. Words are not enough to define this tragedy. People who were part of our lives are no more with us but their memories will keep haunting us,” laments Shafiq*. He is a member of the Ismaili community – a community which lost 45 of its ...

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Thank you, Peter Oborne, for standing up for Muslims worldwide

I first spoke to renowned author and journalist Peter Oborne when I was working on a documentary about the misconceptions of Islam in the West during the summer of 2008. I had researched his profile and felt that he was the perfect candidate to speak to about the dehumanisation of Muslims in western media. It was a privilege speaking to him – he was very thorough and well versed in the subject. After the completion of my work, we stayed in touch and soon after he decided to visit Lahore. I never thought that our interview would result in such a ...

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