Citizens protest against militancy in Swat Death toll of Tuesday’s blast rises to 10

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Citizens in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat valley protested against the recent wave of terrorism as the death toll of Tuesday’s attack rose to 10.

A day earlier, six people, including a former Aman Committee head and two policemen, were killed when a remote-controlled bomb struck their vehicle in the Ghlo Kandaw area of Kabal Tehsil in Swat valley.

Former peace committee head Idrees Khan, two police guards Ramail and Tauheed, and a child were on their way from Kotakay to Bandai village when the bomb, planted on a dirt road, went off, leaving the four people dead on the spot. Two pedestrians were also killed in the blast.

The attack was claimed by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which stated that Idrees had been on their hit-list for nearly 13 years.

On Tuesday, the death toll rose as four more casualties were reported. “A total of 10 people have died,” Swat District Police Officer (DPO) Zahid Marwat said, adding that police had begun investigating the incident.

The officer said that no arrests have been made so far, reiterating that investigations were continuing.

Meanwhile, the funerals of some of the victims were held on Tuesday. The funerals of the two policemen were held at Police Lines and were attended by politicians, government officials and locals.

Idrees’ funeral was held in his native village of Bara Banda where he was laid to rest. A large number of mourners attended the funeral amid tight security arrangements.

The deceased Idrees had played a prominent role in mobilising resistance against the Taliban after they overran large swathes of Swat in 2007. He was named chairman of the village Aman Committee in recognition of his bravery, and had survived multiple attempts on his life in the past.

Swat valley came under the sway of militants in 2007 when the Taliban challenged the writ of the state under Mullah Fazlullah.

A decisive military operation succeeded in eliminating militancy from the region in 2009. But there have been reports of late that militants have resurfaced after 12 years and they are threatening villagers with dire consequences if they denounce them to the authorities.

Separately, provincial minister Shaukat Yousafzai denied that the KP government was negotiating with the Taliban.

“The provincial government does not have representation in the talks under way with the Taliban,” he said in a statement, adding that the Centre was negotiating with the Afghan government.

Yousafzai went on to say that Pakistan was suffering the effects of the change of government in Afghanistan. “The Afghan government is forcing some people to return to Pakistan, the effects of which are being witnessed,” he said.

 

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