“Aey Jawan” once again instilled life in the youth of Swat. While former-Awaz member Haroon was performing the song on stage, the sight of thousands of people in the crowd sing along with him made the performance memorable and proved that life in Swat Valley, where peace and beauty coexist, had returned to normalcy.
The live musical evening and fireworks show held at the closing ceremony of ‘Spirit of Swat’ was attended by thousands of local people, tourists, civil administration and army personnel.
Several renowned artists, such as Haroon, Shaz Khan and Ziauddin Zia performed at the closing ceremony of the 45-day festival, which was a joint venture of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Provicial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA).
“It feels great to see such a huge crowd in Swat. This festival is a combination of a beautiful place and beautiful people. I really enjoyed performing here after such a long time,” said Haroon while talking to The Express Tribune.
“When we were entering the valley, we saw a lot of traces in the form of bullets and remains of bomb blasts. But after coming here I saw complete peace in the valley. The people have defeated the militants and people should come and witness the charm and attraction themselves,” he added.
The musical show organised in Kabal Tehsil is a landmark in history which proves that peace has returned in the valley. The show brought back joy and laughter in peoples’ lives, who had recently gone through militancy and extremism. The fireworks show made the show even more colourful.
Farhad, a resident of Kabal, said, “This show has given us a peace of mind after such a long time. We really appreciate the efforts of the organisers This show is giving us a peace of mind,”
“It seems as if life has gained momentum once again. The valley is progressing socially as well as financially,” he added.
Shaz Khan, a famous Pashto singer, appreciated the role of Pakistan Army in promoting peace and tourism in Swat. “The people of Swat are civilised and peace loving and the future of music and entertainment in Swat is extremely bright,” he remarked.
The Swat Valley has had deep historical ties with folk music. Musical shows would be hosted by guestrooms every night where people would come and enjoy. However, this tradition was banned by the Taliban, who broke musical instruments and killed local artists. However, with the return of peace, all these activities are rising once again, as life is returning to normalcy.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2011.
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