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September 12, 2009

Kidnapping of Greek volunteer from Chitral


September 12, 2009

PESHAWAR: Expressing serious concern over the kidnapping of a Greek volunteer in Chitral, the residents of Kalash Valley Friday threatened to migrate to some other country if the government failed to recover the kidnapped foreigner.

“The Greek volunteer Athanasios Lerounis had been working on health and education projects for the last 15 years,” Taleem Khan, a representative of the Kalashi community, told a news conference here.

The entire community was seriously concerned about the kidnapping of their guest, he said, adding, they have harmed nobody but their guests were being targeted.

Accompanied by minority member of the NWFP Assembly Prince Javed, members of his community, Chistiar Khan, Zarin Khan, Saeed Gul and others, he accused the local and Afghan Taliban of kidnapping the Greek volunteer and killing his local guard Zafar.

He said that after the kidnapping incident, the entire community was feeling unsafe and they had stopped going to work. “The kids too were terrified and reluctant to go to schools,” he added.

Female representative of the community, Saeed Gul remarked that they were peace-loving and patriotic community, but if the series of targeting them continued, they would be compelled to leave the country for another peaceful place.

She urged the government to stop the step-motherly attitude towards them, as they had not been given their genuine rights.

Minority MPA Prince Javed called upon government to deploy army all around Kalash Valley to protect the community who were scared after the kidnapping of the Greek engineer.

He said that Kalash culture was an important asset to the country and it must be the prime obligation of the government to protect it at any cost.

The MPA demanded of the government to take prompt and effective steps for early and safe recovery of the kidnapped foreigner. He called for concrete steps to recover the kidnapped Greek national as soon as


The Greek volunteer was sleeping in the Kalash museum a few days ago when some 20 masked men broke into the museum, killed his police guard and kidnapped him.

The area people fear that the criminals or militants had shifted the foreigner to Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

The protesters, including schoolchildren, men and women from three Kalash valleys of Bumboret, Birir and Rumbur staged a protest demo outside the DCO office in Chitral on Thursday.

They demanded of the government to recover the kidnapped volunteer before Eid, otherwise, a series of protests would be launched against the administration for their failure to protect foreigners in the scenic valleys.