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Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe sun is well up now, but the roads badly kept and progress increasingly slow. My feeling of good fortune in being here at all is tempered by constant bumping and jarring and an enveloping cloud of dust and exhaust fumes from the vehicle in front.

Maqsood Ul-Mulk, who has organized our journey today, is a comfortably built man in his early forties with an amused air of quiet contentment, which may well come from being a member of the family who've ruled the Chitral Valley for several generations. He points across at the far bank of the River Panjkora, which runs beside us at a fast, muddy grey lick. The road is better over there, because it used to be a big poppy growing area. The central government, under a new policy headlined Poppy-Free Pakistan, offered new roads and houses if the locals agreed to change from opium to less controversial crops. They accepted the offer.

'What do they grow now?' I ask.

Maqsood gives the hint of a smile.

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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Peshawar
  • Book page no: 25

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