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Descendants Of Alexander The Great’s Soldiers Gain Pakistan Court Victory


A teacher writes letters from the Kalasha alphabet on a blackboard during a lesson at the Kalasha Dur school and community center in a village in the Bumboret Kalash valley.

About 4,000 people considered to be descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiers have won the right in Pakistan to be counted as a separate ethnic and religious community.

A Pakistani court on April 4 ordered the authorities to count members of the Kalasha separately during the census being carried out in the country.

The Kalasha live mostly in mountainous regions near the border of Afghanistan.

Members maintain distinct religious and cultural customs separate from local Muslims.

The census will be the first in Pakistan in nearly 20 years. Recent counts were called off as officials said violence committed by various militant groups made the process too dangerous.

Existing census procedures make for the listing of individuals and families as Muslim, Hindu, and Christian.

Smaller minority groups have been left out, Kalasha activist Luke Rehmat told dpa news agency.

Rehmat and others filed a petition in a provincial court in the northwestern regions for community members to be counted separately.

The Kalasha are believed to be descendants of Alexander's soldiers who were left behind while the Macedonian warrior marched on to the Indian subcontinent.

Based on reporting by dpa
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