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MINGORA: The members of civil society and culture activists paid homage to the last ruler of former Swat state, Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb, on his 108th birthday here on Sunday.

Miangu Abdul Haq Jahanzeb is called the visionary ruler of Swat as he established a network of educational institutions, hospitals and roads during his 20-year rule. The members of civil society and culture activists laid floral wreath on his grave and offered prayers for his soul.

Suvastu Arts and Culture Association chairman Usman Ulasyar said that Miangul Jahanzeb established schools and colleges for development of Swat. He loved Pashto language as he made it official language of the former state, he said. He would be remembered as the best Pakhtun ruler, he added.

Qazi Ubaidullah, a religious scholar, said on the occasion that Wali-i-Swat took revolutionary steps for promotion of education in the former state. “He established an education network by setting up schools and colleges to promote education,” he said.

Qazi Ubaid said that Miangul Jahanzeb developed an ideal system of judiciary that ensured perfect peace in Swat.

The culture activists said that Wali-i-Swat loved local culture heritage and took concrete steps to preserve it. “He welcomed Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat to excavate and preserve the Gandhara heritage,” said Aftab Sparley, a poet and culture activist present on the occasion.

Some Swatis, who live abroad, also took part in the celebration of birthday of their last ruler. They said that they came from aboard specially to attend the birthday of Wali-i-Swat. “People in UK respect us when they come to know that we are Swatis. They know about the visionary ruler Swat,” said Tariq Hassan Khwaja, who had come from Manchester, UK to attend the ceremony.

However, no member of the royal family took part in the celebrations. The family members even did not pay visit to the tomb of Wali-i-Swat on this special occasion.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2016