SHANGLA: Nomads along with their herds of sheep and goat have flocked to Shangla and Kohistan districts, having moved from hotter regions of the country.

The migration of herdsmen had already started before the start of Ramazan.

Nomads move from one place to another throughout the year and stay in areas where weather remains pleasant and fodder is abundantly available for their herds.

“I along with seven other colleagues started our journey from Rustam area of Mardan district some 19 days ago and reached here while walking on foot. Our destination is Dubair area. Three more groups along with their herds of sheep have already reached Kohistan,” Meer Dad, a 54-year-old shepherd told Dawn.

He said the weather in Mardan was not comfortable for their animals, adding change in weather forced them to move towards cooler and lush green areas which are favourable for their livestock.

To a question, he said lives of nomads were tough as they neither had houses to stay nor beds to sleep at night. We stay in the open along with our cattle, he added.

Lal Zada, hailing from Buner, who was on way to Peer Khana Shangla, told this correspondent he reached Shangla from Buner in 18 days while passing through Swabi, Tarbela, Haripur, Torghar, Battagram and Bisham.

“Usually, we go to areas with mild weather and enough grazing fields for our livestock. My family consists of five members, whose job is to rear sheep. We mostly use goat’s milk as food, especially at Sehr and Iftar,” explained Lal Zada.

To a question, he said there were many caves in mountainous areas of Shangla and Kohistan where they could stay for three to four months in summer.

“We are going to Shangla mountains which are adjoining Kalam area of Swat where weather is pleasant nowadays. Everywhere in such mountainous places we stay in caves,” Daryab Khan, another member of the nomad community, said.

Replying a question, he said they kept dogs to secure their sheep, especially in mountains where there animals were vulnerable to attacks by wild beasts.

He said the nomads enjoyed spending their time in caves and staying close to the nature.

According to local police, over hundred groups of nomads along with their herds of sheep have come to the hilly areas of the two districts and more will come in coming days.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2017