Swat residents warn of vigilantism if terror activities not reined in

Published October 7, 2022
A large number of people take part in a protest against recent wave of terror in Swat on Friday. — Photo by author
A large number of people take part in a protest against recent wave of terror in Swat on Friday. — Photo by author

A large number of people took to the streets in Swat on Friday demanding of the government to take decisive action against “anti-peace elements” in the valley while warning that they might take up arms to tackle terrorists if the authorities failed to play their due role.

The demonstrators gathered at Matta Chowk in the Khwazakhela tehsil of Swat this afternoon. It was the sixth protest by the locals since the resurfacing of the terror activities in the month of August.

The protest was jointly organised by two local organisations — Swat Olasi Pasoon and Swat Quami Jirga. A large number of people, including the youth and elders, with leaders of different political parties excepting the PTI took part in the protest.

The protesters said they would no longer tolerate terror activities as well as the presence of terrorists in the valley. They also called out the government for allegedly blocking internet in most parts of Swat.

“The law enforcement agencies and the state institutions must keep in their minds that the people of Swat are peace loving and they will never tolerate terrorism on their land in any form and by anyone,” said PkMAP leader, Sher Bahadar, as he addressed the protesters.

Swat residents take part in a protest at Matta chowk in Khwazakhela tehsil on Friday. — Photo by author
Swat residents take part in a protest at Matta chowk in Khwazakhela tehsil on Friday. — Photo by author

They claimed that the state institutions had blocked internet in the major parts of Swat, causing hardships to thousands of students.

Some protesters warned the authorities of acting as vigilantes if they spotted any terrorist in the valley.

“We also want the law enforcement agencies to vacate all educational institutes in Swat so that our youth can properly get education,” said Dr. Amjad, one of the protesters.

“If someone thinks the people of Swat would flee their land and allow terrorists to settle in the valley, it is their misconception. It’s a united call from each one of us when we say no to terrorism,” said Vice President of Swat Traders Federation, Dr Khalid Mehmood.

Similarly, Swat Qaumi Jirga member Sher Shah Khan said that the people of Swat were surprised that the terrorists allegedly wanted to enforce Islam in the valley, despite the fact that people in Swat were strict followers of the religion.

“Islam can never be imposed through terrorism,” he said, adding that the people of Swat would not step back until all militants were eliminated from the valley.

Local leaders including SQJ member Mukhtyar Yousafzai, Fawad Bacha, Mazhar Azad, ANP district Swat president Ayoub Asharey and other elders of the area also addressed the rally.

They said they would organise another protest in Charbagh tehsil of Swat next Friday.

Opinion

Editorial

Silencing the public
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Silencing the public

Acting as if it is unaccountable, it is now curtailing citizens’ digital rights without even bothering to come up with a justification.
Fitch’s concern
21 Feb, 2024

Fitch’s concern

AS political parties scramble to form a potentially weak coalition at the centre, the uncertainty unleashed by the...
Zoo zealotry
21 Feb, 2024

Zoo zealotry

IN a bizarre twist of faith and fur, the Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has...
Open the books
Updated 20 Feb, 2024

Open the books

Irregularities have been so widespread that even otherwise impartial observers are joining the chorus of voices demanding a recount.
BRICS candidacy
Updated 20 Feb, 2024

BRICS candidacy

For Pakistan to successfully join BRICS or compete in other arenas internationally, the political instability at home needs to be addressed.
Pneumonia menace
20 Feb, 2024

Pneumonia menace

PANIC is on the rise as the alarming surge in pneumonia cases has created an explosion of headlines — sans...