Pakhtunkhwa Times

Minister, MPAs Make Morale-boosting Trip To Swat Khalid Khishgi

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on February 2, 2009

Sun, 25-Jan-2009

Swat, a picturesque valley

PESHAWAR: In the face of growing criticism against elected representatives from Swat for leaving their electorate at lurch, a provincial minister and two MPAs visited the violence-plagued valley almost after seven months to convey a message to the people that they were there to ‘live and die’ with them.

As a sign of solidarity with the central leader of ANP and former federal minister Muhammad Afzal Khan, who has stayed put in his hometown Drushkhela in militant-infested Matta and bravely faced the growing attacks of the militants, NWFP Minister for Science and Technology Ayub Khan Ashari, MPAs Syed Jafar Shah and Sher Shah visited him and discussed the situation in the valley.

The ANP lawmakers besides holding a press conference in Mingora, Swat, also had whirlwind visit of some parts of Kabal and Matta tehsils as well.

“The morale of Afzal Khan Lala was quite high, who vowed to defend his people and soil to last drop of his blood,” Jafar Shah MPA told The News while recalling their meeting with Afzal Khan, commonly known as Khan Lala, at his hometown Drushkhela the other day.

He said that Khan Lala told them that he would never leave his birthplace for the fear of a handful of extremists who were bent on destroying lives, values and property of the Pakhtuns in the area.

The ANP delegation also conveyed the message of Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and informed him about the new strategy being carved out by the federal government in collaboration with the NWFP government to combat militancy and restore peace in the valley.

“Khan Lala has no particular demand from the government, but wished concrete and comprehensive steps on the part of security forces against the militants,” the ANP MPA recalled and added that under the new strategy the public representatives along with high-ups of the provincial government would visit Swat on weekly basis in order to boost up the people morale and supervise and coordinate drive against militants in Swat.

Jafar Shah, who defeated PML-Q provincial chief Amir Muqam on PF-85 Swat in 2008 general elections, claimed that the local Taliban had lost the confidence of the local people, but the fear and uncertainty still reign supreme in the crisis-hit environ of Swat.

“Those who had once donated precious belongings to the Taliban movement, are now fed up of their acts and policies, particularly regarding the ban on female education, destruction of schools and slaughtering of innocent people,” he added. However, the local people had complaints about the suffering of innocent both at the hands of Taliban and security forces, he said and added that the prolonged curfew in Swat had also multiplied the worries of common people.

The MPA also asked for more relief facilities and proper mechanism to treat and compensate the victims of military operation in the area.

He said that a unit of regular army had been deployed in Afzal Khan’s village where they defied a raid of the militants some two days back and killed about 18 militants in a fierce clash.

He said the ANP as well as NWFP government wanted the implementation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation at the earliest in Malakand division while the party was still stand for its peace talks with the Taliban in case they lay down their arms.

The News INternational

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  1. Anonymous said, on February 25, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Scot-free in Swat?
    Editorial: TheNews

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009
    Sufi Muhammad Khan has announced a ten-point peace plan for Swat, under which militants would not display arms, troops would withdraw from some key positions and schools would re-open. We have been told repeatedly that the truce and the agreement on the imposition of Sharia law mark big steps forward. But the whole issue leaves open questions that demand answers. There is nothing in the peace plan about punishment for those who committed all kinds of atrocities for months in Swat. Nor is there any mention of amnesty.

    The extent of the depravity of these people is almost unparalleled. Dead bodies were dug out from graves and hung in public; women accused of being prostitutes were made to dance in streets before being killed; anyone who challenged the militants, including the elderly, was ridiculed, beaten and in some cases driven out of the valley.

    Is there to be no accountability in Swat? Will those who carried out these atrocities walk away scot-free? Will the rapists of women walk gaily past their families in the streets of Mingora? Will the murderers of young men scoff at the parents of victims? The message such a situation would send out could have grave repercussions. These must be considered by the authorities. Do they really wish to give confidence to criminals that they have impunity for all kinds of horrible offences?

    We have been told these people demanded Sharia. Many accounts are emerging to suggest nothing could be further from the truth. After all, just over a year ago, in the election of 2008, the people of Swat had voted out religious parties in favour of the ANP. They would hardly have done so had they wished for Sharia rule. Like their counterparts everywhere in the country, the people of Swat seek order in their lives and a just, efficient judicial system. This continues to be denied to them. Those who should be punished for the most grotesque acts of inhumanity have instead reaped rewards under the peace deal. They have made it clear they intend to stay in command in Swat, dictating terms under which girls can attend school. The omens are not good. The purpose of punishment, under the law, is of course to deter further crime. This deterrence has not been put in place in Swat and in the future we can expect the adverse consequences of this to be felt across a valley stained with unwashed blood.

    Dear Editor,

    I thank you for your above article and had you added to the list of atrocities carried out by the Taliban, the similar atrocities carried out by the Pakistan army on the innocent people of Swat (in fact, entire NWFP), I would have saluted you.

    The first thing that should happen is to bring to court (this Sharia Court), all the people who committed crimes against humanity, be they the Taliban or the Pakistan army (the real enemy of the Baloch & Pakhtun people) and they be punished in accordance with Sharia Law.

    Yours Faithfully

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