Matiltan is an extremely beautiful and picturesque valley with Its mesmerizing landscape and lofty mountains adorned with tall pine trees and is located at the extreme north of Kalam, district Swat. It is a paradise on earth. Here one finds oneself very close to the mother nature and can relish the pristine purity of existence.
In the fine morning of 28 April 2019, I embarked for Matiltan on a two-day short visit with a view to having an interaction with Khowar speaking community who are believed to have migrated to this beautiful valley from outside such as Handarap, district Ghizer,Torkhow, Sorlaspur and some other parts of district Chitral some 300 years ago.
During my short visit, I had the opportunity to interact with the Khow community of Matiltan and surrounding villages having a population of 2500 Khow families.
There are five different Khow tribes settled at Matiltan and surrounding villages like Aryana, Ushu and Paloga with the following details: Bozukay migrated from Sorlaspur, Khushay migrated from Rayeen Torkhow, district upper Chitral, Nadiray from Handarap, Ghizer district and Madaklasht, district lower Chitral, Khotukay ( Baikay) from Torkhow, district upper Chitral and Waliye (Descendants of Sheikh Shah Wali Baba) from Handarap, district Ghizer.
It is worth mentioning here that this scribe ( me) belongs to the descendants of Sheikh Shah Wali Baba, the grandson of Syed Kasteer Gul, commonly known as Kaka Sahib Ziarat, Nowshehra, being our progenitor. The descendants of Sheikh Shah Wali Baba are called Waliye (its sub-tribes are Konay, Zikonay, and Baloshey) and a sizeable number are settled at Matiltan and surrounding villages.
It may be mentioned here that Khushay forms the largest component of Khow community at Matiltan and surrounding villages followed by Waliye (Zikonay) while Bozukay forms the smallest component that can be counted on finger tips.
Apart from Khowar, Gowari is also spoken by non-Khow community but the thumping majority of the population at Matiltan and surrounding villages speaks Khowar.
There are three important passes like Dadreli Pass leading to Handarap, Ghizer district, Kachikhani Pass that leads to Sorlaspur, district upper Chitral and Khukush Pass leading to Ghizer and Shandur. The tourists generally travel on foot through these unfrequented narrow gorges during summers.
Generally, education facilities in Matiltan and surrounding villages are not very encouraging. There are three government Primary Schools for boys, one for girls and one High School for boys at Matiltan. There is only one Higher Secondary School for boys at Kalam, some 8 kilometers away from Matiltan. All this depicts a dismal scenario of education facilities in the valley demanding the immediate attention of the government of KPK. There is a dire need to improve the education facilities in the valley on a war footing.
Unfortunately, like education facilities, health facilities to present bleak prospects. There is one single dispensary at village Ushu, some 4 kilometers away from Matiltan taking care of the health facilities of the huge population.
Majority of the people are engaged in farming. However, a considerable number of people is also associated with hotelling and trade. The overall standard of living in the valley is abysmally low calling for immediate measures to be taken by the provincial government to alleviate the sufferings of the people as these areas have not been given due attention in the past.
The poverty-stricken people of Matiltan and surrounding villages deserve immediate attention of the government of KPK. It is a litmus test of the present government and it is hoped that it will come up to the expectations of the poor masses of this valley.