SWAT: Residents of Swat took to the streets on Wednesday against the fresh wave of militancy in the area as the death toll from the bomb attack targeting former Aman Committee head Idris Khan, rose to eight.
Police said two more bodies were recovered near the site of the explosion, which took place on Tuesday night in the Doghalo Kandaw area of Kabal tehsil.
PRO Moin Fayaz in the District Police Office said the death toll reached eight earlier in the day. The deceased were identified as Muhammad Idrees, head constable Rambail, constable Waheedullah, Sanaullah, Umar Ali, Muslim Khan, Mian Syed Ibrahim, and Mian Syed Afzal Shah.
A statement issued by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the attack, mentioning that Idrees Khan had been on their hit-list for nearly 13 years.
Protesters say they won’t let militants ‘steal their peace’; death toll from blast rises to eight
‘No to terrorism’
A day after the bombing, locals gathered at Nishat Chowk in Mingora and denounced terrorism and the TTP. The demonstrators were holding banners and placards as they chanted slogans for peace in Swat as well as in the rest of the Malakand division.
They said that the people of Swat, who faced terrorism from 2007 to 2009, would never allow terrorist activities on their land. “We are peace-loving people and we will never allow any element to sabotage our hard-earned peace anymore. We are awake now and would never allow the anti-state elements to steal our peace,” the protestors said.
They said that it was strange that despite the presence of intelligence agencies and a large number of law enforcement agencies, the militants were able to enter Swat even though the area did not share a border with Afghanistan. “We do not know how the militants can enter the Swat area as it does not share its borders with Afghanistan. In situations like this penetration of terrorists is not only condemnable but also questionable,” they said.
They warned the anti-state elements should not try to test the patience of the people as they were completely against terrorism and wanted durable peace.
Meanwhile, office bearers of the district bar association strongly condemned the recent wave of terrorism incidents in Swat. They talked about this in an emergency meeting of the association under the chairmanship of Muhammad Mushtaq Khan.
“We strongly condemned the recent incidents of terrorism and weak law and order situation. The recent bomb blast on the VDC [village defence committee] members, killing about eight people, the abduction of the private mobile phone engineers and workers, and threatening messages to elders of Swat,” the lawyers said, adding that several important personalities, including MPA Sardar Khan and VDC members, have received ‘extortion letters’ and phone calls [from militants] telling them to pay a huge amount.
The lawyers said that it was the duty and responsibility of the state institutions to provide safety and protection to the citizens. They demanded that law enforcement agencies and especially the provincial government must establish complete peace and fulfill their constitutional responsibilities.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022