CHITRAL-The annual festival of Kalash tribe, Chawmous, which is also known as Chatarmas, attracted a large number of tourists from all corners of the country and abroad despite severe cold weather in the valley.

The main feature of the festival is the boys, clad in girls’ clothes and the girls in that of boys, dance together. At the festival, the elders of Kalash flush out the fox and seek out it to prophesy the good and bad to be happened in the New Year.

The tourists who came to see this colourful festival, however, complained about the appalling conditions of the roads and lack of facilities. Religious leaders of the Kalash tribe called Qazi said, on condition of anonymity, that they were forced not to speak against the government because the government has promised all the judges in Kalash valley monthly salary and criticism might result in cancellation of their salaries.

“We are surprised that the provincial government has made a statement in the media that transport and lighting arrangements have been made available to people in Kalash for the festival but in fact neither we saw any transport nor any lighting arrangement,” he revealed. He regretted that applying a couple of bulbs does not resolve problem of the local population. He pointed out that where had the government spent a huge funds of Rs500 million...... on beautification of Chitral or building highways in this valley?

A Kalash woman Laiba said that the local population has faced with multiple problems due to poor condition of road and lack of other facilities. “If any accident happens on these roads who will be responsible.... the government or our representatives?” she posed a question.

A woman tourist from Karachi Miss Uzma said, “I had come five years ago and now when I came again, I don’t see any change. We hear in media that there is a big change in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but we didn’t see any change.”

Another Kalash Qazi said that dancing place where Kalash women perform dance, is too narrow and the women cannot perform their religious rituals freely. “Instead of spending millions of rupees only in papers, It will have better the government expanded balcony of this dance place,” he stressed.

Another Kalash woman expressed her optimism that the first-ever Kalasha MPA Wazir Zada would work for improvement of roads and would bring development to the area.

Some tourists from Karachi said that there is no facility for tourists and they cannot buy anything they need due to closure of shops in the night.

Residents of the Kalash Valley and the tourists demanded the government to carry out inquiry and accountability of the funds that the KP Tourism Corporation spends in paper in the name of promoting of tourism so that the approved fund could be spent on development. They underscored that all out necessary steps should be taken to facilitate the tourists visit the area from within the country and abroad.