*Locals say govt does not provide any security, potable water to Kalash tribesmen

By Zakir Hassnain

PESHAWAR: Kalash people warned on Friday the whole community would leave the country in protest if the government did not take serious action against the kidnappers of Greek social worker and did not recover him.

The Kalash community demanded army troops be deployed in the Kalash valley areas of Bamborait, Birir and Rambore for the protection of the people.

Taleem Khan, Chustyar Khan and Zareen Khan, residents of Kalash who addressed a press conference along with Kalash women at Peshawar Press Club, said local Taliban had abducted Greek engineer and social worker Athanasee Laironaise.

“If the government doesn’t take any serious action, we (whole community) will leave Pakistan and go to some other country, a move which would bring bad name to Pakistan,” said Taleem Khan.

Taleem said they (Kalash) were peaceful people and did not have even a small gun for protection. “The government does not provide us any security, education and water supply,” he said. Taleem said the Greek social worker had been serving the Kalash people in Bamborait, Birir and Rambore valleys in Chitral district for the past 20 years and had a very good record.

“People in the Kalash valleys are frightened and feel insecure and unrest is growing due to the kidnapping of the Greek social worker,” he said. A Kalash woman said the government had always ignored Kalash and its residents and was not providing them any education, health faculties and financial assistance. “Pakistan has done nothing for us. We’ll migrate,” she said.

Chustyar said the kidnappers were local Taliban and had come from Nooristan bordering Kalash valleys. Minority Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Prince Javed said it was his responsibility to protect minorities. “I condemn the kidnapping of the Greek engineer and social worker and demand his early recovery,” said the MPA.

The minority MPA demanded the federal and provincial governments deploy army units in Bamborait, Birir and Rambore valleys. “Kalash people are scared and want protection,” he said. Javed demanded immediate recovery of the Greek social worker.