The former ruler of Chitral, His Highness Saiful Mulk Nasir breathed his last in Islamabad on October 18, 2011 after brief illness.
The deceased was made Chitral’s ruler or mehtar in 1954 after his father His Highness Saifur Rehman was killed in a tragic air crash over the Lowari Pass. Saiful Mulk was just four-year old at that time. The government of Pakistan had formed the Regency Council to rule the state till he came of age.
Saiful Mulk got his education at the Aitchison College, Lahore. In 1966, while still at school, he was installed as the constitutional ruler of Chitral.
He, however, never got the chance to rule the state, which was merged into West Pakistan in 1969. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during his visit to Chitral in 1971 asked Saiful Mulk to join the Foreign Service of Pakistan. He agreed and served in various capacities in Hong Kong and Turkey. He later sought premature retirement.
The former Chitral ruler led a private life and rarely participated in public affairs. He mostly stayed in Islamabad.
Saiful Mulk was known as a simple and down to earth person and was held in high esteem by the people of Chitral. He distributed a large part of his property to the poor people in Chitral. Scores of his admirers were making their way to Chitral town and converging on the local fort as they waited for his body to be brought to his native area from Islamabad for burial.
The death of Saiful Mulk marked the end of an era in Chitral’s history, which was associated with the rule of the Katore family, one of the longest ruling dynasties of the Subcontinent.
The British recognised the importance of Chitral due to its proximity to the borders of Russia. The ruler of Chitral was held in high esteem and was given the title of His Highness and enjoyed an 11-gun salute.
Chitral had been an independent state with little connection to the Subcontinent with much of its history being shaped from the northeast.