Hundreds protest against ‘growing wave of terror’ in Swat

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Hundreds of people took to the streets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat valley on Friday against the recent wave of militancy in the area, demanding police action as they warned of more protests if the spate of terrorism continued.

Earlier this week, eight 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 four people dead on the spot. Two pedestrians were also killed in the blast. Two more corpses were found later.

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

Voicing concerns against the growing militancy in the area, the protesters converged at Kabal Chowk after Friday prayers, holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans including “we want peace, save our lives”. One of the slogans read: “We want books instead of guns.”

A large number of civil society members, lawyers, local political leaders took part in the protest.

One of the protesters, Sardar Ali Advocate, said it was odd that hundreds of people had taken to the streets against terror in an era when other nations were advancing in science, robotics, artificial intelligence and e-commerce.

He said it was disappointing for the residents to converge on the streets to demand their basic rights.

Other protesters said it was beyond comprehension that terrorists were openly disrupting law and order while authorities were allegedly keeping mum.

“It is enough. We will no longer tolerate these activities and if the law enforcement agencies and police fail to take action against terrorists and anti-state elements, then the people of Swat will themselves stand against rogue elements and take action,” Fawad Ahmed, a social activist.

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