SWAT: Scores of people took to the streets in Khwazakhela tehsil here on Friday calling for the elimination of ‘anti-peace and anti-state’ elements from Swat region.

They warned that if the authorities didn’t immediately act for peace, the residents would take up arms for the purpose.

The Matta Chowk protest was organised by the Swat Olasi Pasoon and Swat Quami Jirga. It was the sixth rally by Swat residents against the resumption of terrorist activities in August.

Besides youth and elders, leaders of all political parties except the PTI attended the Khwazakhela demonstration.

The participants shouted slogans against terrorists and said they would challenge threats to peace in the region.

They complained about the suspension of Internet service in major parts of Swat.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Sher Bahadar said Swat residents were peace-loving people and would never tolerate the resurgence of terrorist groups on their soil.

He said students had suffered since the Internet service was suspended lately.

Swat Qaumi Jirga member Sher Shah Khan said the people of Swat won’t allow terrorists to regroup in the region and would continue with their peace efforts.

Speaker Dr Amjad said the law-enforcement agencies should vacate all educational institutions in Swat to facilitate the youth’s access to formal education.

Vice-president of the Swat Traders Federation Dr Khalid Mehmood said Swat residents won’t leave the area if terrorists carried out activities.

“When we [Swatis] say no to terrorism, everyone should understand that it is a no by all Pakhtuns,” he said.

The other protestors warned if terrorists were spotted in Swat, the residents won’t wait for action by law-enforcement agencies and would act against them.

Swat Qaumi Jirga members Mukhtyar Yousafzai and Swat Olasi Pasoon member Fawad Bacha announced that another protest would be held in Charbagh tehsil next Friday.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2022

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