In our childhood we used to hunt birds with catapults with small stones as missiles. Later when we grew older our elders taught us how to shoot a gun and make aim. In our district Chitral long range .22 rifles and shotguns were generally used for minor hunting and some heavier calibre rifles like .303 and 7mm rifles for big hunt and target shooting. By then the area was exempted from fire arms license restriction for it was named as PATA (provincially administered tribal area) with some specific regulations of its own. Three main districts made of the states of the past were included in this formation and they were Dir, Swat and Chitral. Some privileges were given to these districts as ‘exemption from taxation in trade and electricity utilization and concession in possession of light arms’. Our government system is based on deceit and slow based alteration so that no one is alarmed of a sudden imposing of restrictions. Thus with the course of time the PATA regulations were gradually started abandoning and general regulations were brought in, in a slow process. When some people were arrested with shotguns under the act of illegal possession of arms for the first time, then it was known that some change had been brought.
Now when the tribal areas (FATA) have also to be brought under the government jurisdiction, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is becoming a bigger province and the will of the people will also need to be cared more about. We do not say that FATA or PATA regulations be revived but at least some privileges be given to the remote regions of the province. The government should not try to snatch their guns and make them as sitting ducks. Each citizen of Israel is given two to three years battle training only to introduce them to weaponry while in our country men are made to cease remain real men. Quaid-e-Azam once said the north-west is our fighting arm. That is to be kept in mind beside this, that an army of a nation alone will never be able to keep a nation stand. An army of a disturbed and discontent nation will be as disturbed and ill as itself.
Aman ul Mulk was the last sovereign ruler of Chitral state in mid nineteenth century. Bashgal or Kafiristan now Nuristan is the adjacent valley of Chitral that was ruled by Kafirs who were dreaded for their ruthlessness and unruly sabotage activities but they were in loose alliance with Chitral state government. Once Aman ul Mulk was asked by some adviser for why not subdue the Kafiristan in a proper manner for ever. Aman ul Mulk said, Kafirs are not against us and we are surrounded in enemies from all around. So, let the Kafirs in loose state so that our enemies dread them and we do not remain under their direct threat.
Mohammad Ilyas Khwaja
Village Goldoor, Chitral.