KARACHI: A Kalash man has been nominated for the first time in Pakistan’s political history for the assembly on a minority seat.
Wazir Zada, a community worker from Chitral, has been nominated by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as their second choice on reserved seats in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly for elections 2018.
Zada termed his nomination as historic and a giant step forward towards the promotion of diminishing Kalash culture.
Talking to The News from Peshawar, where he appeared before the Returning Officer for scrutiny of nomination papers, Zada said this will be for the first time that a Kalash man is going to the assembly and raise voice for the community.
Legislation for the preservation of indigenous Kalash culture is on top of my mind, he said of his plans, if he reached the provincial assembly after July 25 polls, which PTI hopes to win comprehensively.
Praising PTI for nominating him, Zada said he is happy that at last his community is considered as an important part of Pakistani society by a national party.
He vowed to work for all the minorities.
The Kalash valleys of Chitral are located in the southern gorges of the Hindu Kush mountain range in KP. The valleys share a 380 km border with Afghanistan.
The population of Kalash people has declined to just a little over 4000. They are considered unique among the peoples of Pakistan. They are also considered to be Pakistan's smallest ethno-religious community, which practices a religion that some scholars characterise as a form of animism, and other academics as "a form of ancient Hinduism".
People of Kalash hold nature to be a very significant part of their belief. They are generally regarded as polytheists.