Swat Cantonment a reassuring move

THE move to establish Cantonment in the scenic valley of Swat, which bore the brunt of terrorism in the past, has rightly been appreciated by people of the region as well as other parts of the country as it sends a categorical message to all concerned that the Government and the armed forces are determined to ensure sustainable peace in the area. Speaking at the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the project at Kanju of Kabal Tehsil on Friday, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif won hearts of the people by declaring that establishment of the cantonment in Swat will act as a deterrent for terrorists, boost confidence of all law enforcement agencies and help bring a permanent sense of security with readily available force to counter any threat to peace in the area.
Armed forces of the country deserve full marks for taking care of the complex issue of terrorism and extremism in a wholesome manner. They rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the line of duty and restored peace not only in Swat but also in many other terrorism-inflicted areas. There has long been demand that the Army, ably led by General Raheel Sharif, has completed its task but the successes so achieved would remain under dark clouds if the Government did not undertake measures to address the root causes of terrorism and extremism and initiated measures to employ the youth in gainful, constructive and healthy activities. This required all-round socio-economic development in these areas as well as legal, judicial and administrative reforms to bring them into national mainstream. There are reports that thousands of suspects were arrested but cases against them have either not been initiated at all or not pursued in courts with the required focus. Similarly, federal and provincial govts are required to strengthen administrative machinery and police forces to ensure good governance and prevent terrorists and trouble-makers to stage a comeback. Developmental projects should be launched in these areas and investment in regions like Swat would pay back as these have immense potential to attract tourists. Interaction of local people with those from other parts of the country and abroad would also widen their mental horizon and could bring about desired change in overall thinking. Swat cantonment is a step in right direction as it would accelerate pace of socio-economic activities, help improve provision of medical and educational facilities and provide jobs to locals.

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