SWAT: Scores of people staged street protests in different areas here on Friday against the recent ‘resurgence’ of militants in the mountains bordering Swat and Dir districts and said they won’t allow anyone to sabotage the hard-earned peace in the region.
Organised by civil society members for peace and attended by people from all walks of life, the protests were staged at Matta Chowk in Khwazakhela tehsil and Kabal Chowk in Kabal tehsil.
Dr Amjad Ali, Ali Namdar, Ghairat Yousafzai, Ibne Amin Yousafzai, Rehmat Ali, Fawad Khan, Ehteshamul Haq, Mehtab Khan, Anwar Ali and Aftab Khan led protesters, who said the people of Swat wouldn’t be fooled again by radical elements.
The protestors said they didn’t get peace as a gift and instead, they earned it and were not ready to be disgraced, displaced and killed again as happened from 2007 to 2009.
They said they were very angry and upset after seeing videos released by the Taliban militants that showed a man claiming to be a militant interview a DSP and two army officers allegedly held captive by the banned outfit.
Dr Amjad said Swatis were peaceful people and wanted durable peace in the region.
“We [Swat residents] have earned peace after rendering huge sacrifices, so we won’t allow anyone to sabotage it,” he said. The speaker said the residents wanted peace and not war.
Ali Namdar said the residents wanted the government and district administration to get the resurgence of militants immediately probed by a judicial commission to reveal truth about it.
He said it was the duty of security agencies to ensure peace in Swat and if they couldn’t do so, then it would be considered a constitutional violation.
The protesters wondered how the militants could reassert themselves in the region, where security and law-enforcement agencies had deployed personnel in large numbers.
“We [Swat residents] are shocked to see the videos of the Taliban militants and want to know how they entered our region despite the strong presence of security personnel,” said Ghairat Yousafzai.
The protesters demanded of the government to immediately look into the matter and take corrective measures without delay.
Holding white and black flags inscribed with ‘peace’ and shouting slogans ‘We want peace in Swat and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, they marched in Khwazakhela and Kabal bazaars.
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022