The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has ordered the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to add Kalash religion on the national census form prior to the second phase of the practice starting on April 25.

The order has been issued by a two-judge bench of the PHC after a written petition submitted by Kalash community's members.

Deputy attorney general was called upon for the hearing as he was representing government in the court.

Sabir Awan, the petitioner's lawyer, informed the court that the Kalash people subscribe to one of the oldest known religions of the region, and that their members continue to live in three remote villages in district Chitral.

Awan cautioned that exclusion of the religion from the census form would be an injustice to the community and a violation of law, which guarantees equal rights to all its citizens. He pointed out that almost all major religions were included in the form except Kalash.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the court directed the government to include the Kalash religion on the census form before April 25.

Members of the Kalash community present at the court appreciated the decision.

While talking to the media, a member of Kalash community told, "It's a landmark decision and is a victory for the people of Kalash."