CHITRAL, June 24: One week ago the sleepy bazaar of Garam Chashma, a border town in Chitral, was awakened to the sirens and blue lights of a police patrol escorting unidentifiable people sitting in Prado Land Cruisers. The scene was of a typical VIP party.
Everyone in town was curious about the guests who were so efficiently escorted to the government guest house where a freshly slaughtered lamb, roasted on firewood, awaited their arrival.
When news came out that the ‘VIP’ in town was son of Asfandyar Wali Khan of ANP, the Garam Chashma people were neither impressed nor surprised.
The surprise came next morning when it was revealed that the ‘son’ of Asfandyar Wali Khan was actually an impostor who had received government protocol and had enjoyed government facilities ever since he entered the district through the Lowari tunnel.
The impostor turned out to be one Naushad Ali son of Momin Khan from Landi Kotal, Khyber Agency.
Naushad, to the embarrassment of the DPO and all the many intelligence agencies in Chitral, is now in jail and FIR has been registered against him which also includes the DPO (district police officer) in this sordid drama.
Here in Chitral, since the posting of DPO Abdul Rashid, both the police as well as the intelligence agencies have put themselves into top gear to hound every foreigner who enters this otherwise peaceful district.
In their misplaced enthusiasm they promptly deported Dr Peter Hatcher, who has done exceptional good work in the field of maternity health in Chitral since 2002. He had returned to Chitral ten days ago to work with the Aga Khan Health Services.
And then, only the other day, they stopped Brian Fawcett from proceeding with the 22 projects he had brought to Chitral through the P&D of KP and for which he had every conceivable NOC right down from section officer Qamar Ali (the most exacting person in KP home department) to the headquarters of 11 Corps whose sepoy manning the barrier at Dargai sees ‘foreigners’ only from their blond hair and pale skin.
The scary bit for all of the local people is that, with the system currently in place, a tourist (who is bringing income directly into Chitral) will find it impossible and uninteresting to visit the valley while people like the impostor, Naushad Ali, will enter unhindered. So it seems easy for the Afghans, Arabs, Iraqis etc, who do not qualify as a ‘foreigner’, to dodge the security agencies.
Naushad Ali from Landi Kotal, thankfully, was not a terrorist with a Prado full of explosives.—Sirajul Mulk