Timber smuggling bid foiled
CHITRAL: March 20, 2006: The Forest department foiled a bid to smuggle timber out of Chitral into Afghanistan and onward to southern Pakistan
The smugglers had cleverly altered the body of the Bedford trucks (commonly known as 'Rockets'), to accommodate large pieces of precious Diyar and Deodar wood which is banned from being taken out of the district.
Talking to newsmen, District Forest Officer Hashim Khan and Range officer Fazle Khaliq said it was the first time they encountered such an ingenious way of smuggling forest wood.
Afghan route closed, reopened
CHITRAL: 09 Feb 06: The Afghanistan route which is the only ground link of Chitral with the rest of Pakistan, was closed by the Afghan authorities for travel which led to great frustration amongst the Chitrali travelers who also do not get seats on the PIA flights as they are over booked for a month.
a traveler while being body searched by the afghan security personal was found to be in possession of an audio cassette bearing the picture of Osama Bin Laden, for which he was arrested and the route closed for traffic. As per latest reports the route has been conditionally opened again but security checks have been made more extensive making the lives of travelers miserable.
STC TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Dir is a big trading centre. It is famous for knives and daggers. The royal graveyard is also situated by the roadside in the town. Shortly before reaching Dir, a road leads towards east, taking the travelers to a wonderland, known as Dir Kohistan. It is the western extension of Swat. The lush green valley of Dir Kohistan is about 100 km long. It has many villages including Shringal and Kalkot. The mountains are covered with thick forests. This area has still not been fully explored.
This pass is 3200 m high, situated in the famous Hindu Raj Range and forms the boundary between Dir and Chitral. The road to Chitral passes through this Pass which is closed between November and May due to heavy snowfall.
The easiest route during summer (it was closed by snow in the winter), and the only one which also allowed the use of pack animals, went over the Broghol Pass (3,798 m or 12,460 ft) to Mastuj and, from there, either east towards Gilgit, or southwest down the Chitral/Kunar Valley towards Jalalabad; a route which is open all year. This route was not only the easiest, but the most direct one to Kabul and all points south and west.
There is also a more difficult route over the dangerous Lowari Pass (3,200 m or 10,499 ft), 365 km (227 mi) south to the region of Peshawar. It is now jeepable, but used mainly because the easier route to Jalalabad is blocked by the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is also a 405 km (252 mi) route to Gilgit over the 3,719 m (12,201 ft) Shandur Pass.
Chitral Flights problem -letter
The current flights situation story narrated in a recent news item is an old story and does not seem likely to change soon. Deaf ears, rampant corruption and inefficiency being the obvious reasons; Who cares how vital is a proper travelling mechanism for tourism. Who would like to take so much hassle to go to Chitral! This can only be achieved by constructing a new modern big airport in Chitral. Direct flights from Islamabad and Karachi are must, which in addition to facilitating tourism will also benefit Chitralis living in far flung areas. Private airlines must also be approached. But initiatives must come from Chitralis themselves.
An area with high activity? Do they call Bedford trucks "rockets" anywhere but in the Chitral area? Could the rockets be a smokescreen? "When we were talking about rockets, we actually meant modified Bedford trucks" Btw, it is rumoured that Bin Laden spends his vaccations in this area.
Daily Times: US teacher asks Chitralis to find Bin Laden
A New York Times story quoting CIA officials as saying they are looking for Osama Bin Laden in Chitral has prompted an American teacher to appeal to Chitralis to help find the Al Qaeda leader. “I humbly ask, please help us. Please help the Americans, if you can. Please help us rid the world of this Osama if you can. He may be hiding in your land and planning to attack America again.
Gupshup - Osama bin Laden alive and living near Chitral in Pakistan
Osama bin Laden has been living in reasonable comfort for quite some time now and despite the rumours, does not live in "caves" on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but in modern accommodation near Chitral situated in this area.
It is no coincidence that this area around Chitral is not "open" to unauthorized search parties, as those protecting bin Laden would not want him falling into the wrong hands.
GlobalSecurity.org: Chitral, Pakistan 35°53'15"N 71°48'01"E
By the end of September 2001, American and Pakistani military officials had discussed the possibility of American use of five airfields in Pakistan: Peshawar, Quetta, Dalbandin, Pasni, and Chitral. Ultimately, Chitral was not among the bases selected for use.
ChitralNews: Shortage of essential items hits Chitral
March 28 2006
Spiralling prices and non-availability of essential items in Chitral have hit the people of Chitral hard. The area faces an acute shortage of essential commodities during the closure period of Lowari Pass from the month of December to April every year.
the entire population of the district is held hostage by a few hoarders and profiteers. The replacement of the old district administration by the new system of district government has worsened the situation.
Pakistan dismisses speculation bin Laden is hiding in mountainous north
The police chief in Chitral, Fazal Elahi, said it would be impossible for an outsider like bin Laden to hide in the town. He said that some Americans had stayed in Chitral recently and police had provided them security. He declined to give further details about the visitors, but said he was not aware that they were agents. To protest the alleged presence of U.S. agents, Abdul Akbar Chitrali, a lawmaker for a hard-line Islamic coalition, led a street rally on Friday, said Shahid Shamsi, a spokesman for the opposition Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal or United Action Forum coalition. The New York Times quoted Chitrali as saying that four Americans, whom he claimed were either from the CIA or FBI, had set up an office following a "fabricated" report that some Arabs had come down from mountains to visit the town's bazaar.
Pakistan is a U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, but any presence of American operatives on its soil is a sensitive one because of widespread opposition to that alliance, particularly among Islamic hard-liners. Earlier this month, Henry Crumpton, the U.S. ambassador in charge of counterterrorism, called parts of Pakistan's border region a "safe haven" for militants and said bin Laden was more likely to be hiding there than in Afghanistan. On Monday, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said bin Laden was more likely to be in Afghanistan.
Bin Laden on the Move; New Sightings in Pakistan
May 24, 2006
Pakistani government sources tell ABC News they have "credible reports" that Osama bin Laden and his entourage have moved down from high mountainous peaks along the Afghan border to a valley area 40 miles inside the Pakistan border.
The officials say the reports put bin Laden around Kohistan's Kumrat Valley.
MountEverest.net: Pakistan's Chitral region closed to foreigners - no Hindu Kush expeditions this year
Jun 23, 2006
The Chitral Valley in northern Pakistan has been closed to foreigners for security reasons and local authorities are refusing climbing permits in the region. The closed area, with the highest peaks of the Hindu Kush range, sits on the border with war-stricken Afghanistan.
Chitralnews.com: Fighter jets roar near Afghan border
CHITRAL 27 June 06
The thunder of fighter jets believed to be of the American and allied forces undertaking an operation in the Nooristan province of Afghanistan were heard in the border area of Chitral, Arandu and Mirkhani Monday.
Chitralnews.com: NHA Chairman visits Tunnel site
CHITRAL, 30 June 06
Gen. Musharraf would also be warmly welcomed on his arrival at Chitral in July for formal inauguration of Lawari tunnel.
Chitralnews.com: JI opposes women stalls at Shandur
CHITRAL,30 June 06
Jamaat e Islami Chitral in a meeting opposed the proposed set up of women stalls at Shandur festival and termed it un-Islamic and against the traditions of the area. The meeting warned if the district administration insisted on pursuing their intention, then, the responsibility of any ensuing untoward incident would rest on the shoulders of the concerned institutions
Chitralnews.com: MNA thanks President, people
09 July 06
MNA Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali at a press conference Sunday, thanked the President of Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharraf for coming to Chitral
Chitralnews.com: 'Decrying extremism'
The president of Pakistan has just completed his two days visit to Chitral.
No body can deny the fact that the President needs high security protection in these times, but then there is a limit to everything. Days before the presidential visit, over, an estimated two thousand paramilitary troops and police from different parts of the NWFP, as far as Tochi and South Waziristan were ushered into Chitral, manning and checking every passer by at every nook and corner. For the two days that the president stayed in Chitral, a virtual curfew was imposed in the town on the local population whom the president is never tired of calling ‘peace loving’.
Even the sick were not allowed to reach hospitals as the roads were dead blocked and people ordered to stay indoors, for security reasons of course.
The Gilgit tribe beat Chitral, 9-6, this year in the annual, bloody, take-no-prisoners, referee-less polo match on a remote, 2-mile-high field on a mountain in Pakistan, an event that, despite its viciousness, some observers credit with forestalling actual war between the tribes.
According to a May dispatch in ESPN The Magazine, clubbing of opponents is rampant; horses are treated more reverently than players; and when a star player was thrown and landed on his head, motionless and thought perhaps even to be dead, fans screamed for him to be cleared from the field quickly so the match could continue. He only had a broken neck and concussion.
Never Yet Melted » Osama? What Osama? Osama Who?
The Hindustan Times reports a Pakistani legislature from Chitral (the northernmost district in the North-West Frontier Province) protesting his province’s innocence in exactly the manner which arouses the most suspicion.