Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Kalash lawmaker vows to fight for minorities

Peshawar: Wazirzada, the first elected member to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from the Kalash minority community, has pledged to fight for the rights of all religious minorities in the province.

“I am representative of all religious minorities in the assembly and will fight for their rights. My mission is to protect rights of all religious minorities and work for harmony between Muslims and minorities in the province,” the Dawn quoted Wazirzada as saying.

Wazirzada is a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). His nomination to the reserved seat in the province had sent the entire community in raptures. Kalash is the smallest ethno-religious community in the country.

A resident of Rumbur valley, Wazirzada had joined the PTI in 2009 after he graduated from the University of Peshawar in 2006 and continued to work in the social welfare sector.

“I have worked with my organisation as a volunteer for several years to serve my community,” said Wazirzada who has also been associated with an NGO in the past.

With an estimated population of 4000, the Kalash community, who claim to be the descendants of the Greek invader Alexander the Great, has dwindled drastically over the years, with conversion to Islam being highlighted as one of the primary reasons.

The establishment of many religious seminaries in the Kalash-native regions, along with poverty, has been cited as the primary reasons for the community to convert to Islam.

While hailing the previous PTI government for the work they have done in the area to establish high schools, primary schools for girls and other welfare projects, Wazirzada said that several NGOs had spent more than Rs 300 million on health and education projects in Kalash dominated areas.