February 6, 2024

By Kamran Ali


CHITRAL

Breaking barriers, 39-year-old Luke Rahmat is the first person from the Kalash to run for a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly seat PK-2 from Lower Chitral.

Considered the smallest ethno-religious group in Pakistan, the Kalash people adhere to a distinct ancient religion, which is a blend of ancient Hinduism and animism. “The total population of the Kalash tribe is around 4,000,” informs Rahmat.

Talking to Voicepk.net, Rahmat says that the people of Chitral, especially the Kalash community, have long been deprived of essential rights, such as roads, water supply schemes and irrigation channels. This deprivation has motivated him to step forward and take action – “We, as religious minorities, are confined to seeking representation through reserved seats provided by political parties, which often falls short in addressing our issues because one must adhere to a specific party’s policies and guidelines.”

Rahmat has received an overwhelming response across the constituency. “I don’t limit myself to being just the representative of the Kalash community,” he says. “I’m dedicated to addressing the issues of every individual in the constituency. My goal is to inspire other members of my community to participate in all aspects of life.”

Luke Rahmat believes that he has a comprehensive plan for resolving issues that impact his constituency. “I know my constituency well. I have been working here as a social worker and blogger for more than a decade,” he says.

He emphasizes that practical and rational steps will be taken to position Kalash as a tourist destination while preserving the essence of Kalash culture. According to him, “This approach will not only create employment opportunities for locals but also lead to well-developed infrastructure in the region.”

During the PTI rule in KP between 2018 and 2023, Wazir Zada was the first person from Kalash to be nominated as an MPA on a reserved seat for minorities. He was later appointed as a special assistant on minority affairs to the then Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. Rahmat is the first Kalash to run for elections on a general seat.

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