Pakhtunkhwa Times

O’ Swat Dr.Farrukh Salim Fri, 23-Jan-2009 Swat, a pradise on earth Paradise on Earth, Mother Nature’s gift to Pakistan. O’ Swat, you have it all;

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on February 2, 2009

O’ Swat
Dr.Farrukh Salim
Fri, 23-Jan-2009

Swat, a pradise on earth

Paradise on Earth, Mother Nature’s gift to Pakistan. O’ Swat, you have it all; virgin beauty, crystal rivers, green meadows. High mountains, valley bowls, alpine lakes. And much much more. Footprints of Buddha, Alexander’s soldiers and Jahangiri Kings.

O’ Swat, you have history, culture and religion. Himalayas, HinduKush and Karakoram. Turki Shahi, Hindu Shahi and Yousafzais, Romance, beauty and piety. Worship, education and music. Saidu Sharif, Mingora and Malam Jabba. Trekking, mountaineering and skiing. Ushu, Matiltan and Mahodand. Gandhara, Buddhism and the Akhund. Fragrance, serenity and trout. You’ve K2 too. You have it all. Buddhists called you Udhyana, the Garden. Chinese called you Soto. You are land of snow, fresh water, clean air. O’ Swat, valley of hanging chairs. O’ Swat, Switzerland of the East.

O’ Swat, fourteen hundred stupas and monasteries. Six thousand gold Buddhas. Cradle of Buddhism; Mahayana, Hinayana and Tantrayana. Then came Mahmud of Ghazni, Babar of Ferghana and Akbar the Great. O’ Swat, your orchards fruit laden. Your landscapes flower-decked. Your Pashtuns hospitable, Kohistanis tolerant and Gujars friendly.

O’ Swat, tranquillity is what you had. Beautiful you still are, tranquil no more. Your seventh century Rock Buddha. They are drilling holes in him. Drilling holes in somebody’s god. Drilling holes and filling them with dynamite. They throw grenades at foreigners. Your culture of tolerance being raped. The state, a silent spectator. Your history under assault. Where is the state? Your religion being stabbed, stabbed-in-the-back. The state, a silent spectator.

O’ Swat, your Walnut Heights Hotel. Snow-capped peaks all around, Swat Valley down below. Hasn’t seen a foreign tourist since 9/11. Full of ambassadors once. Diplomats come no more. O’ Swat, your police shutting down CD shops. Shutting down for the police can protect them no more. Shutting down for the sake of peace. Shutting down to please the unkind.

Paradise lost. Swat consumed, consumed by violence; private violence. Fifteen vehicles mounted with machineguns. Two cell-phone numbers. Shaheen Commandos are patrolling. Masked men are patrolling. A private army is patrolling. Patrolling Matta and patrolling Kabal. Any problem, who do you call? Shaheen Commandos. A private flag march, a private court, a private Chief Justice. And, private dispensation of justice. Public beheadings, this Friday, public lashings, last Friday. Shaheens take complaints and Shaheens enforce their law. Shaheens provide security not the state. The state in retreat, non-state fills in. Where is the state? The state, a silent spectator.

O’ Swat, your Miangul Aurangzeb. Your last Wali Ahad, five hours away from you. Your own Wali nestled in man-made Islamabad. Can’t even go to God-made Swat no more. If Miangul can’t then who can? Your virgin beauty no one dare come and see. Your crystal lakes lonely and lost. Your meadows abandoned, hotels empty. Your Buddha blown, guides unemployed. O’ Swat, your economy ruined, beautiful you still are. Hospitality slaughtered, tolerance murdered, religion stabbed. Stabbed in the back. The state, a silent spectator.

Waziristan fell last year. Swat is falling now, falling to al Qaeda. Islamabad, a mere five hours away. Mardan, Hangu, Kohat, D.I. Khan, Kharian, Rawalipindi and Tarbela all under attack. They blow up Rock Buddha, Islamabad bites nails. They kill lady teachers. They blow up barber shops. They blow up girls’ schools. They dynamite video shops, bomb audio shops. They abduct government officials, send envelopes with bullets in them. The receiver dies, dies in three days. Police stations locked, police can’t wear uniforms no more. Swat is falling, falling to al Qaeda. Islamabad, a mere five hours away. Islamabad, too busy in games of power. Islamabad, too busy in elections. Politics first, Swat later.

The News International


One Response

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  1. Anonymous said, on February 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Associated Press of Pakistan

    Why restoration of ‘Nizam-e-Adl’ is no Taliban victory

    ISLAMABAD, Feb 19 (APP): Swat peace agreeemnt is an historic moment for people in Pakistan’s Swat region, and a remarkable achievement by the provincial government of the northwest frontier province (NWFP). An independant analysis of foreign newspaper said, after negotiations between the provincial government, its stakeholders and representatives of Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM), an agreement was finalized to implement ‘Nizam-e-Adl’ in Swat, provided TNSM and its followers are able to maintain peace.

    While celebrations are going on in Malakand and Swat, Western media has expressed its worry about the implementation of “Islamic Law” in the region, taking this as a victory of the Taliban—and defeat of Pakistani Government.

    To correct this misconception, we have to first look into the origins of the demand for Shariah Law. In 1969, the states of Swat, Dir and Chitral officially joined Pakistan and annexed into a division called Malakand, with Saidu Sharif (in Swat) as its capital. Historically, people of these states followed their tribal system of justice, earlier known as Rewaj (Customary Law) and later as Sharia.

    After becoming a part of Pakistan, the people of Malakand had to face the legal system of Pakistan, based on a British legal system fraught with complex procedures, which were slow, expensive and corrupt. Soon, they started to demand reverting back to their former, independent system of justice. The Pakistani government refused.

    This dissatisfaction gave rise to the movement of TSNM by Maulana Sufi Mohammad in 1994. Later on, his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah broke away from the movement and started militant activities.

    Things turned nasty in Malakand when the renegades from Afghanistan and FATA joined forces with corrupt local elements. In order to gain public support, they took on the name of ‘Taliban’ and ‘Nifaz-e-Shariat’ (restoration of Shariah Law) as their slogan. Locals of Malakand division were clearly not happy with this as they ended up sandwiched between these rogue elements and the government, which was trying to maintain its writ in the region.

    The NWFP government of ANP has so far done a terrific job of restoring peace to Swat and adjacent areas, in spite of the fact that their leaders are also on the hit list of militants and have braved several life threatening assassination attempts.

    From their early days in provincial government, leaders of ANP acted with diplomatic and political acumen, first releasing Sufi Mohammad and then supporting the moderate elements of the region. Now, by meeting public demand, they are positioned to isolate ‘Taliban’ elements of Malakand, who have lost their popular leverage. Hopefully, peace will return to Swat once again.

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