KALASH: For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a lawmaker from the Kalash community took oath to serve as a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
Wazir Zada attended the oath-taking ceremony donning a traditional Kalash cap with a feather on top.
The 34-year-old lawmaker belongs to the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which has a 158-seat majority in the National Assembly.
While speaking to Media, the Kalashi lawmaker said he is wearing the traditional dress of the Kalash rulers and kings.
“The feathered cap indicates holding a high-position in the Kalash community. I want to tell the world about this 2,500 years old tradition of ours which is still alive,” he said.
He further said that in Pakistan the Kalash community has been given a lot of respect and adoration, which is the primary reason it has flourished over the years.
Before Pakistan went to vote, Zada’s name was proposed for the minority seat in the provincial assembly by Imran Khan’s PTI.
Zada was born to a working-class family in Kalash. He completed his matriculation and college from Chitral, before joining the University of Peshawar for a masters in political science. After his education, he began working as a social worker and activist in his area.
He first joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, a relatively lesser-known party then, in 2008. Once an MPA, Zada says he hopes to bring more “development and prosperity to the people of Kalash.” While the majority of the population in the three villages is that of Muslims, he plans to promote and highlight his tribe’s culture and history.
“I am thankful to Imran Khan, who gave me this opportunity,” he said“Before this the people of Kalash only voted in the elections, but they were never heard from after. Now, our voice will reach every home.” The Kalash community practises an ancient polytheistic religion and speaks Dardic. They are considered one of the oldest and smallest indigenous communities in the country.