The round of meetings initiated by AICS Islamabad with authoritative representatives of the country continues, in order to value the importance of sustainability within the Poverty Reduction Program in Pakistan (PPR). Our Office, after the visit of Maryam Bibi, welcomed Wazir Zada, the first representative of the Kalasha to be elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He currently holds the position of Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Minority Affairs.
Wazir Zada is been an old and esteemed friend of the Italian Cooperation for over a decade, ever since his commitment as a social worker in the community organization (Local Support Organization LSO) of the Union Council-UC of Ayun. Ayun is a UC within the Chitral District that encompasses the three Kalasha valleys: Bumburet, Rumbur y Birir, areas of intervention of the PPR Project. His brother Barzanghi Zada is currently the Education Manager of the Ayun LSO.
Wazir Zada illustrated the initiatives that his office is carrying out in favor of Christian, Hindu, Sikh and of course Kalasha groups. Scholarships are provided for young people and ad hoc posts are reserved for them in high schools and public offices. Their presence in the local police is interesting, as in addition to representing a strong cultural mediation, it ensures equal treatment to all.
When asked what the future of the Kalasha valleys is, he reiterates a vision shared by many, that “agriculture, livestock and the exploitation of forest reserves no longer represent a source of subsistence and that the natural vocation of the territory is nowadays oriented towards cultural, responsible and sustainable ecotourism”. He announced the new formation of an Authority for the territory which will have the task of issuing rules for cultural preservation and environmental protection.
Furthermore, Wazir Zada, aware of the experience and attention that Italy reserves to the conservation of tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage, and of our ability to combine wide-ranging tourist strategies, will be happy to continue the dialogue during AICS visits to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.