Battle for Chitral memorial resumes after 113 years

April 28th, 2008 - 1:42 pm ICT by admin  

Nowshera, Apr.28 (ANI): One hundred and thirteen years after the siege and battle of Chitral, a family that once ruled over the area, wants a neglected British monument to be moved 200 miles to their mountain kingdom for safekeeping. The defaced memorial standing on a hillock beside the Kabul River outside Nowshera in Pakistan, commemorates one of Britain’s most famous military feats - the race to lift the siege of Chitral in 1895.
Daubed with graffiti and defaced by some who are offended by its proximity to a Muslim graveyard, it is now in danger of collapsing.
The men it honours rescued Chitral’s ruler Shuja ul-Mulk who was besieged inside his royal fort with his British allies.
Now his son, Colonel Khushwaqt ul-Mulk, 95, has mounted a campaign to save the 40ft brick and plaster obelisk by transporting it to the Hindu Kush. Nowshera was once the railhead on the Grand Trunk Road. It was the key military artery of British India and the junction through which all those who fought on the North West Frontier, notably Winston Churchill, would have passed.
The death of Col ul-Mulk’s grandfather in 1892 unleashed a war of succession and his father, the 10-year-old Shuja, was the favoured ruler.
Col ul-Mulk said: “We were fighting one another and the British said, ‘Stop it!’, and they brought peace.”
Col James Kelly marched 1,000 men and their heavy cannons across the 12,000ft Shandur Pass. Meanwhile, General Robert Low brought 15,000 men from Nowshera, defeating Pashtun tribesmen before crossing the 10,000ft Lowari Pass.
Their feat was hailed as “one of the most remarkable marches in history” by the British press.
The monument is dedicated to the fallen British and “native” soldiers of Gen Low’s force. (ANI)

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