Thousands of protests in Pakistan’s Swat valley over government failure to tackle terrorism


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: The residents of Swat and Shangla returned to the streets on Thursday against the wave of terrorism, recalling the Pakistani government to do more against the wave of terrorism in the scenic valley. They demanded authorities take action against elements that are ruining peace in the area, Dawn reported. The protest was organized by a local organization, Swat Qaumi Jirga, as the elderly, youth and children from different parts of Charbagh tehsil took part in the demonstration, carrying placards with slogans aimed at restoring peace in the valley. They shouted slogans and held placards and expressed their grievances as terrorism has seemingly returned to the region.

Notably, on Monday, terrorists opened fire on a school bus, killing the driver and injuring two children. During their protest last week at Matta Chowk in Swat’s Khwazakhela tehsil, protesters had warned that they would take up arms to deal with terrorists if authorities did not play their part, Dawn reported.

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Today was the eighth protest by the local population since the resurgence of terror activities in August. The most recent protest was on Tuesday after a school bus in Charbagh came under gunfire, killing its driver and injuring two children. The incident sparked protests in various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with thousands taking to the streets to show their determination against terror, Dawn reported. The protest finally ended after 40 hours after negotiations with the administration.

The protesters had demanded the arrest of the perpetrators of the attack and warned against marching to Islamabad if authorities did not comply with their demands within 24 hours. Prime Minister’s adviser on political and public affairs, Amir Muqam, also showed up at the protest to show solidarity with the protesters, Dawn reported.

The speakers believed that their demonstrations will continue until the elimination of the last terrorist from the valley. In his remarks, Muqam said: “The PML-N will never compromise on peace in Swat.” One speaker said that the people of Swat are “awake” and fully aware of good and evil and bad and good.

Another speaker, Mukhtiar Yousafzai, said locals have decided they will not breathe freely until terrorism is completely eliminated from Swat, Dawn reported.

“Gone are the days when the people of Swat had to suffer from an organized pattern of terrorism. This time we have decided to eradicate this threat once and for all,” Yousafzai said in his speech. Earlier in September, a bomb explosion killed a peace committee member and seven others, causing citizens to take to the streets in protest.





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