Recalling terror: Swat activist describes horrors of Taliban rule

Activist retells experiences during the Fazlullah regime and calls for harsh punishments for the Taliban leadership.

Fazal Khaliq April 07, 2011


One loss that Swat is still recovering from after its brief struggle with militancy is its image of being a liberal, hospital and peaceful region.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a front rank progressive educationist of the area, Ziauddin Yousufzai, who is also lending a hand to rebuilding life in Swat, described the horrors of Taliban rule and shared his role as one of the few activists who openly condemned the militants.  During the mayhem, he received innumerable threats to his life and was named on the Taliban radio as a target as well.

“The brief rule of the Taliban left deep scars on nearly every aspect of Swati life. It was a serious mistake on the part of the rulers to continue to tolerate their activities for such a long time and allow them to get stronger and bolder in their aims,” he said.

He held the campaign of hatred against the Soviet Union responsible for the rise of fundamentalism in the area. The reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan was romanticised as a model rule without regard to its backward and bigoted policies against women, education, human rights and social and economic progress.

In Swat, Ziauddin said  the walls were painted black with slogans of Mullah Omar and Fazlur Rahman as the great caliphs of Islam. Fazlullah cleverly aimed his radio propaganda at women, motivating them in every speech and sermon to send their sons, husbands and brothers for Jihad. His propaganda also described education as harmful for women and against Islam. This confused people’s mind who even stopped their girls from going to school. Ziauddin who runs a very ambitious school system said that the Taliban destroyed 404 schools.

All this was happening with the tacit approval of the MMA-government, he said.

Describing his campaign against the Taliban rule, Ziauddin said he gathered people from all walks of life and initiated a peace movement for the quick and targeted operation against the top Taliban leaders. His movement also provided moral support to the army through the Swat Qaumi Jirga.

He expressed his satisfaction with the present situation to the extent that the command and control system of the Taliban in Swat has completely been eradicated witht the help of Pakistan army. But the army should hand over administration to the civilians as they cannot stay on forever, he said. Praising the army for arresting and getting confessions from Taliban leaders like Sufi Mohammad, Muslim Khan, Mahmood Khan along with many others, he said they should all be punished without any delay as their crimes are all on record.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2011.


Malik Achakzai | 10 years ago | Reply He held the campaign of hatred against the Soviet Union responsible for the rise of fundamentalism in the area. He is speaking still for the betterment of terrorists who are destroying our motherland......Just examine the above sentce......
Pukhtana | 10 years ago | Reply He is indeed a man of word and deed! God preserve you, Ziauddin Lala! We appreciate and admire your courage and strength to speak against injustice.
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