PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Wildlife Department on Sunday went looking for a footwear shop in the city to confiscate snakeskin sandals meant for Prime Minister Imran Khan.
They didn’t have to look far as they had been tipped off that the famous Kaptaan Chappal creator, Nooruddin Shinwari, was making them in his shop called Afghan Chappal House in Namak Mandi, famous for its meaty cuisine.
In his defence, Nooruddin and his son Islam said that the serpentine material had been sent from the United States to the shop to craft two pairs, one for the donor and one for the Kaptaan to slip on.
But District Forest Officer Wildlife Aleem Khan while speaking to Dawn claimed that this was first such case they had stumbled upon and on Monday (today) will discuss within their department the verification process for the confiscated shoe material.
Back in 2015, the traditional Peshawari chappal or sandal was launched by Nooruddin as Kaptaan Chappal.
“The special double-soled Peshawari chappal had been in fashion since long but when I gifted a pair of this especially designed new brand to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Imran Khan on his wedding, the shoe became an instant favourite with all and sundry,” Nooruddin had told Dawn back then.
He had said that soon after, most KP ministers and Pashtun population in the Gulf states began placing orders for Kaptaan Chappal in large numbers.
In 2016, DawnNews reported the arrest of Jehangir Khan for fashioning deerskin sandals for Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan which was requested by his cousin who lives in Peshawar to make two pairs for the actor which she was planning to gift him when visiting India.
As to what action the wildlife plans to take against Nooruddin, officer Khan said most probably the department will slap a fine on the shoe store.
KP Minister for Environment Ishtiaq Urmur was quite clear on the consequences when speaking to Dawn and said making sandals from snakeskin was illegal.
“No matter who the sandals were being made for, an illegal act would never be tolerated.
“If it is proven that the chappals were indeed made of snakeskin then the cobbler will have to face legal consequences as well as a fine provided he shows necessary documentation that it was [legally] imported,” he said.
In the meantime, the Kaptaan cobbler is waiting for the other shoe — shoes — to drop.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2019