Terror fails to dampen Swat’s spirits

On July 15, a suicide bomber struck to break the Swatis’ resolve to put the days of tumult behind them and begin lives...


Fazal Khaliq July 19, 2010

SWAT: The atrocity was calculated to strike terror into the hearts of Swat’s people, whose newly begun lives after three years of mayhem were on show through a celebratory ‘Mela’ to showcase the district as a little piece of paradise restored to its former glory. On July 15, a suicide bomber struck to break the Swatis’ resolve to put the days of tumult behind them and begin lives anew. The attacker targeted the district’s main town and hive of economic activity – Mingora – leaving six innocent people, including two women, dead and 60 others injured.

Local elders say it was an effort to undermine the flow of tourism, which had picked up momentum since June 29, the day the ‘Swat Amn Festival’ began simultaneously in Mingora and Kalam.

That the suicide hit failed to dampen spirits is evidenced in the fact that life is running its course in a normal fashion, and tourists are flocking in unhindered and unafraid from all parts of the country as festivities reach their zenith.

Some people nursed apprehensions that the incident will cast its baleful influence on the daily routine of people in the valley, especially on the arrival of tourists. This apprehension, so far, has turned out to be unfounded.

A group of tourists landing in Mingora from Lahore remarked, “These bomb blasts and the wave of terrorism have engulfed the whole country. It does not mean that life stops or we stand frozen.” They asked the people to come here to enjoy the valley’s pleasant weather and stunning splendour. “People of Swat are hospitable and peaceful.”

It seems the people are heeding the advice. Hotels of Kalam are packed with tourists while many more are still coming in to occupy rooms to join the celebrations. The local people have put up large-sized doors and marquees along the roads – from Mingora to Kalam – with banners welcoming the tourists.

Foolproof security arrangements have been made for the visitors. “The tourists are enjoying the alluring resorts with ease and without fear; security has been provided to them everywhere in Swat...soldiers of Pakistan Army are present for them,” said Major Nasir, who is the spokesman at Swat Media Centre.

Qazi Jameel ur Rahman, the DIG Malakand Region, told reporters: “No-one is allowed to create disturbance. Police are on high alert for the safety of tourists and the local people.”

He appealed to the local people to keep a vigilant eye on suspicious persons and must inform the authorities in time.”

Ziauddin, a renowned scholar and educationist told The Express Tribune that it was a direct attack on tourism as it is flourishing these days. “Terrorists wanted to sabotage the tempo with which tourism was making strides back to the town’s heyday. But the quick and effective response by the security forces and the local administration thwarted that attempt,” he added.

“By not imposing curfew, the administration proved it a ‘balloon blast’ and normalcy returned within an hour,” the scholar said, adding the media also played a positive role by not over-blowing the event. “Such incidents should be tackled with intelligence and reacted to in a wise manner so that terrorists lose heart.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

Farzan | 11 years ago | Reply we have to comabt these obnoxious terrorists and never to lose heart. lets join and fight for Pakistan
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