A local school bus driver was killed in Mingora, Swat. One student was injured and taken to the hospital. After a few years of peace and quiet, the valley of Swat is once again being targeted by the Taliban. Even though the police did not register this as a terrorist attack and are investigating it as a one-off incident, it is quite evident that the Taliban have infiltrated the valley and are targeting their usual targets. This time, however, the people are not afraid to stage protests against this infiltration.
The people of Swat have seen the worst of the Taliban’s rule and, consequently, the operations to remove this parasite. Almost all families residing in the region have lost a loved one. Those who are in their teens and early twenties now have grown up with the terror of the Taliban. These people have seen the worst of the worst and they are not ready to give up their freedom once again. However, security agencies and the government are not doing much to provide security and safety to the residents of Swat. It is perplexing how the valley is being given up, once again, by those who have vested interests. However, the people are not having any of this, not this time.
The protesters who gathered at the Nishtar Chowk put forward their demands for the government to take appropriate measures to keep the district safe from radical Islamist militants. In the last two months, six demonstrations have been staged for the government to activate some security restrictions in the area. However, not much has been done by the government or security agencies. Swat has been, once again, left at the mercy of militants who have the agenda of making a little Afghanistan within the valley. The only difference this time is the fervour with which people are gathering on the streets so that the worst does not happen.
The northern regions of Pakistan, especially those bordering Afghanistan, have suffered much due to the Taliban. The whole of Pakistan was shaken up every time there was a suicide attack, and generations have grown up with the trauma of bombings in every nook and corner of metropolitan cities. However, the KPK and Balochistan sides have always been the epicentre of the attacks. In these areas, especially in Swat, the Taliban established their own system where girls were not allowed to attend schools, televisions were destroyed, and beards were made mandatory. All of this was happening in the state of Pakistan and the real government had no jurisdiction over what went on in the region.
If not controlled soon enough, the future of Swat and the surrounding regions may turn bleak. Moreover, this would be a great failure of the government and the security agencies of Pakistan as they are virtually allowing the creation of a state within a state with completely different rules, norms and values. They are allowing an outlawed entity to take control of part of a sovereign nation. Whatever Pakistan’s deal with the Taliban is, this must be completely unacceptable. If not for the people of Swat, the government and security agencies should work against the Taliban for the sake of their own reputation in the world.
It is quite brave of the people of Swat to stand up against the notorious Taliban after they have seen what they are capable of and quite embarrassing for the government, which is sitting casually without batting an eye while a banned terrorist outfit is infiltrating Swat. Instead of working towards curative measures, the problem of the militants should be nipped in the bud.