‘We want peace’: Swat residents take to streets in Matta against wave of militancy

Published September 30, 2022
Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author
Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author

The streets of Matta tehsil echoed with slogans of “we want peace” on Friday as hundreds of people from different parts of Swat took to the streets against the recent wave of militancy in the valley.

Earlier this month, eight people, including a former Aman Committee head and two policemen, were killed when a remote-controlled bomb struck their vehicle in the Ghlo Kandaw area of Kabal tehsil in Swat valley.

The incident triggered several protests by residents in Swat and Shangla. Last week, security posts were set up in the Matta and Kabal tehsils of Swat.

Today, a considerable number of elders, youth, and political activists gathered at Matta Chowk, near the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM house, demanding peace from the state.

The rally was organised by Swat Olasi Pasoon and Swat Quami Jirga against terrorism, the closure of the internet, and the pelting of stones by unidentified persons at houses at night.

PTM head Manzoor Pashteen, MNA Mohsin Dawar, PkMAP leader Mukhtiar Yousafzai, ANP’s Ayoub Asharey, PPP leader Dr Amjad and local elders addressed the rally.

Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author
Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author

The speakers said that the return of militants in Swat, despite the presence of a significant number of security forces personnel raised questions.

“The 2022 Swat is different than the 2007 Swat as we will no more be deceived by the fake slogans raised by the militants in 2007. This time we will not [just] condemn terrorists’ activities, but we will resist them,” said Dr Amjad, the local leader of the PPP.

The speakers mentioned that for the last 20 days, unidentified people threw stones at their houses in different Matta tehsil villages at night, which was condemnable.

“Ironically, despite the presence of law enforcement agencies in their villages, miscreants manage to enter our villages, throw stones at our houses at midnight, and then easily go back,” said PkMAP spokesperson Mukhtiar Yousafzai, adding that if the law enforcement agencies failed to arrest the miscreants, they would be dealt with “with iron hands” by local residents.

The speakers said that Swat was not a neighboring district with Afghanistan, but was far from the border, and the appearance of the militants in Swat raised many questions.

“Sabotaging peace in Swat means hurting peace of the entire province, which will not be tolerated. If this time the so-called militants try to sabotage peace in Swat, people from the entire KP will come out to resist them,” said Manzoor Pashteen in his address and said that this time no one would leave Swat or migrate from the valley but would stand against the militants.

Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author
Protesters rally in Matta tehsil on Friday to demand peace in Swat after a wave a of militancy hit the valley.—Photo by author

“We do not accept any negotiation with the militants and their entrance in the Pakhtun belt once again,” he said.

The speakers said it was a good omen that all walks of life came out to the streets demanding peace from the state.

“Previously, people were not aware of the fact of the militants, but this time the situation is different as everyone — the elders, youth and children are aware, which is why they are on the streets for a peaceful Swat,” said MNA Mohsin Dawar.

A protester said it was the state’s responsibility to immediately ensure peace, arrest the miscreants who throw stones at houses at night and restore internet in Matta tehsil; otherwise, people of Swat would collectively come out and block all the roads.

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