Chitral’s ‘Man of Nature’ laid to rest
CHITRAL: Shahzada Khush Ahmadul Mulk, a renowned Chitrali famous for his love of nature, trees and flower who passed away on Friday was laid to rest in Balawusht gardens at Ayun village.
Thousands of people converged on Ayun to attend his funeral and to offer condolences to his family.
He is survived by two sons, Masoodul Mulk, a well-known development practitioner who is chief executive officer of the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP), and Maqsoodul Mulk.
Shahzada Khush Ahmadul Mulk was born in 1919. He was one of the sons of His Highness Shujaul Mulk who ruled Chitral from 1895 to 1936.
As a young man, Shahzada Khush Ahmadul Mulk studied at the famous Doon School in India. He returned to Chitral to serve as the chief secretary to the Mehtar (ruler) of Chitral. His advice to the Mehtar to introduce reforms in the antiquated system of the state of Chitral didn’t win him many friends.
Later, he spent years with the Frontier Scouts serving on the wild frontier lands. It was an experience he loved.
He returned for a brief period to Chitral’s politics unsuccessfully pleading with the Chitralis to be made part of the Centre (federal government) following the state’s merger with Pakistan because he felt Chitral’s huge geography, thin population and geographic isolation would marginalise it in the political life of NWFP, later renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In the 1980s, his passion to help the displaced Afghans as the head of the Afghan Refugees administration won him abiding respect and friends among the Afghans.
He made an epic journey on a horseback over the 14,000 ft high Dorah Pass all alone, wading three rivers on the way, to meet the Afghan mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Masood. He stayed as Masood’s guest and lived with him in a cave during those days of Afghan jehad.
The journey was motivated by what he saw as unique contribution of Masood to the war against the Soviet occupying forces in Afghanistan. He undertook this tough journey at the ripe old age of 75.
The picturesque garden he built at his native Ayun is a sight to behold. It is a place where one can find the rarest of trees. It attracted hundreds of international visitors over the years.
His hospitality made General Ziaul Haq thank him as President of Pakistan on his trip to Chitral for the ambassadorial role he played in projecting positively his country’s image.
Shahzada Khush Ahmadul Mulk remained a critic of the deforestation in Chitral. His poetry expressed his anguish for the loss of nature and marginalisation of the indigenous Chitrali to powerful market forces from outside Chitral.
He was for a Chitral that respected its plurality. During the tragic 1981 communal riots he showed exemplary courage to ensure that there was no desecration of bodies in the riots.
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