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Pakistan’s cave-dwelling community

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Two Muslim men study the Quran inside a cave filled with bags containing damaged Quran books and loose pages inside a tunnel of the Jabbal-e-Nur-ul-Koran (Koranic mountain of light) fundation, 26 September 2001 in this town near the Pakistani-Afghan border. The foundation, created 25-year ago by commoner Haji Walli Mohamad following what he claims to be a "vision", collects damaged Quran books or loose pages from around the world and store them inside a two-kilometres man-made maze of tunnels and caves to offer the Muslim holy words a proper religious rest place. The holly mountain contains some 60,000 thousands bags filled with old Koran and loose pages with Muslim followers coming from around the world to pay respect to their holy book. The foundation also restores the Quran to offer them to poor Muslims who cannot afford to buy one. AFP PHOTO/EMMANUEL DUNAND
Two Muslim men study the Quran inside a cave filled with bags containing damaged Quran books and loose pages inside a tunnel of the Jabbal-e-Nur-ul-Koran (Koranic mountain of light) fundation, 26 September 2001 in this town near the Pakistani-Afghan border. The foundation, created 25-year ago by commoner Haji Walli Mohamad following what he claims to be a “vision”, collects damaged Quran books or loose pages from around the world and store them inside a two-kilometres man-made maze of tunnels and caves to offer the Muslim holy words a proper religious rest place. The holly mountain contains some 60,000 thousands bags filled with old Koran and loose pages with Muslim followers coming from around the world to pay respect to their holy book. The foundation also restores the Quran to offer them to poor Muslims who cannot afford to buy one. AFP PHOTO/EMMANUEL DUNAND

Just 40km from Pakistan’s capital, many families continue to live in man-made caves – some because they are too poor to afford regular houses. Shaimaa Khalil went to meet them.

The Pakistan Cave Research & Caving Federation. PCRCF formed in 14 August 1997 is non-profit national constituent governing body for underground exploration, research, and conservation of caves in Pakistan and adjacent areas. It represents all those persons and groups with a genuine interest in caves, karst and associated phenomena, whether from a strictly sporting viewpoint, a scientific viewpoint, or a combination of both to promote the study of caves and associated phenomena for protection of the Natural Heritage of Pakistan and International Speleological Community.

It attains through close liaison with its member Associations by supporting cave & karst research; by encouraging original exploration and organising educational, scientific, Speleological sports and cave rescue conferences and expeditions. PCRCF is member country to UIS (Union de International Speleology), through its founder and President Hayatullah Khan Durrani, Chairman Malik Abdul Rahim Baabai and media officer Mohammad Abubakar Durrani.

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