Swat saga | By Farkhanda Shahid Khan

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Swat saga

MALAKAND division of Pakistan once presumed as a haven for the militants became a nightmare for radical mindset after the operation Rah-e-Rast.

With the valiant public support, international cooperation, and exertions of the defence forces, the region construed its peace, development and tourism.

Likewise, there was a renaissance celebrating the valley’s beauty and presenting documentaries in local and international media instead of the frightful news about Mullah, Militancy and the Mingora war.

Throngs of people then flocked back to Swat Valley in various colourful seasons to celebrate Swat Peace Festival, Summer Festivals, Swat Cultural Gala, Sports and Snow Festivals.

Streets of Swat that witnessed bloodshed under Talibanisation once again stood high in progress, peace and safety along with its tradition of hospitality.

However, this is grief-stricken that the peaceful valley is under threat once again due to the recent wave of terrorism.

Although the Mingora is still crowded yet with protestors instead of tourists. IDPs of the past are once again on the roads and streets as protestors.

How and why all this happened suddenly has a long story full of the hypocrisy of the Taliban.

The two-faced and manipulative strategies of the Taliban through their control in the neighbouring country of Afghanistan last year have made an impact on the whole region.

Swat was the victim of their synthetic religion and self-constructed Sharia in the past and has once again been the target for the last few months.

Recently, a few incidents of terrorist activities in the valley have been reported but these militants have failed in front of public reaction and timely retaliation of law enforcement agencies.

In all honesty, the savage control of the Taliban is not only victimizing the people in Afghanistan but also launching attacks in Pakistan through their puppet militias and allies.

The leadership of the Taliban in Afghanistan is harping to respect the sovereignty and not to intervene in neighbouring countries, nevertheless, they are backing their cronies in bringing unrest in Pakistan.

Their same pretence of a vow to respect women and their image of ‘the changed Taliban’ have been exposed in front of the world that they are just as ruthless and cruel as they always were.

Immediately after taking control in Kabul, they unemployed women, shut down educational institutions, created an atmosphere of uncanny and revolted against fundamental human rights, which they want to practice in Swat and the rest of the region as well through their planted groups.

But, the fact of people being resilient this time cannot be ignored, as well as, neither they are feared of any ‘Radio Mullah’, nor they can be entrapped by any notion of the Taliban’s self-styled Islamic Emirates.

Such as the biggest protest recorded recently in the history of Mingora is living proof of people’s tenacity and dedication against Talibanisation.

On the 10 October 2022, the driver of a girls’ school bus was shot dead in front of a private school, where two girl students also got injured.

In the same way, ten years ago, on the 9 October 2012, a school van was attacked badly injuring eleven-year-old Malala Yousafzai along with other students.

But luckily, they survived. Adding further, from Afghanistan to Pakistan there has been a long series of attacks on students, teachers and educational institutions marking the Taliban’s animosity toward girls’ education.

I want to put a question to those who make a war of a bullet and a book- the fault of these students.

Is it education, only? Why do they oppose the power of knowledge, when all religions have their bases in peace and learning?

I believe that education gives awareness, education is a truth, a fact that we need to acknowledge, while ignorance and illiteracy is an evil.

Furthermore, education is the only tool to support the human faculty of the mind to differentiate between right and wrong.

It is about accepting others, thinking beyond ethnic or religious partialities and intellectual, spiritual and moral guidance.

It is peace, therefore, rich with humanity. So, Women, Peace, Education and Democracy can never be defeated.

In the present scenario, it is time for Mullahs too to contemplate whether they have to stand with the people of Swat, or with ignorance and oppression.

It is a fact that all Mullahs are not of radical minds but all militants are disguised as Mullahs.

Apart from this, I would urge to address those who are running Madaris in Swat, though from any school of thought or camp, whether it is Panjpiri or Panipati, Tauhidi or Brelvi, Jeffery or Hanafi, Panjsheri, Haqqani, or Khurasani, it needs to be evoked that terrorism has no religion.

Along with global religions, all the pacts, constitutions and charters of the world guarantee peace to their people and the hospitable people of Swat also chant one slogan, we want peace.

—The writer is a Lecturer in English Literature at Government College University Faisalabad.

 

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