ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court was informed Thursday that threats to Kalash tribe and Ismailis for embracing Islam was not internal, but had come from across the border.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, heard a suo motu notice which the CJP took on the media report about Pakistani Taliban’s threat to Ismailis and the Kalash tribe in the picturesque Chitral Valley.
The court had summoned the attorney general and the KPK advocate general. In a 50-minute-long video released on February 2 on the TTP media wing's website, the Pakistani Taliban had announced an “armed struggle” against the Kalash and Ismaili Muslims. The narrator warned the Kalash who are thought to be only 3,500 to convert to Islam or face death.
Appearing on the court notice, KPK Advocate General Abdul Latif Yousafzai said Nuristan province of Afghanistan border extended to Dir and Chitral. He said he had been told by the KPK home secretary that the news about the militants’ threats to Kalash and Ismaili communities of Chitral was correct, but it was from across the border and not internal.
Abdul Latif Yousafzai, however, submitted the provincial government had taken up the matter with the federal government, adding preventive measures had been taken by the Chitral deputy commissioner in this regard.
The court directed the KPK advocate general to submit a report within a week, explaining as to what further preventive measures had been taken in the matter after holding meetings with the federal government.
The court also directed the KPK advocate general to collect reports from the district police and the Chitral commissioner and submit a comprehensive report on February 24.
The chief justice observed that Ismailis had received threats from the Taliban as per the news report. The Taliban had threatened them to convert to Islam or face death which, he said, was against articles 9, 20 and 36 of the Constitution. The chief justice further remarked that Islam was a religion that preached peace and tolerance.
Meanwhile, during the hearing of the Peshawar church blast case, the Punjab and Sindh governments submitted reports before the court pertaining to the security measures taken for the protection of worship places of minority communities. The court clubbed the cases of conversion in Chitral and Kalash and the security of worship places in all the provinces.
Punjab Advocate General Mustafa Ramday told the court that there was no security problem regarding worship places in the province as they were fully protected. He added there were 97 worship places in Gunjrawala, 24 in Bahawalpur and nine each in Multan and Rawalpindi and all were fully protected. KPK Advocate General Abdul Latif Yousafzai said the provincial government had already submitted a report about the security of worship places in the province.
A representative of Tando Adam-based organisation from Sindh told the court that they were fully protected and could go to their worship places freely. Similarly, Ramesh Kumar, a representative of Pakistan Hindu Council, told the court that they were fully protected and their temples had no security problem.
The court adjourned the hearing in Peshawar church blast case till February 24, besides directing the KPK advocate general to submit a report on the Chitral-Kalash threat within a week.