‘Hard-earned peace’: Killings of peace volunteers reignite fear of violence in the valley

ISPR Swat spokesperson says Swat is safe for tourists.

Fazal Khaliq July 31, 2013
50 people have been killed in targeted attacks since the beginning of the year. PHOTO: FILE


The frequent killings of peace committee members in Swat have reignited memories of intense violence. 

In the past week alone, three peace volunteers were killed. The most recent such incident was on Saturday when peace committee chief Badiur Rehman was shot in Imam Dherai, Kabal tehsil.

According to statistics of the Nepkikhel Aman (peace) Jirga, 50 people have been killed in targeted attacks since the beginning of the year.

Idrees Khan, who is the president of Nepkikhel Aman Jirga and chief of the Swat Peace Militia, criticised the district police for their lack of assistance in keeping the valley safe. “We voluntarily guard our villages and keep an eye on all entry passages. Unfortunately, we have never seen police assist us in our night patrols,” he said, adding there is only help from the Pakistan Army.

“Terrorists are coming from outside the valley, but they will not be successful in their intentions. We will fight them alongside security forces,” he reiterated.

The military had launched a massive counter-insurgency operation in the valley in 2009. The offensive was hailed as one of the most successful army operations in the country.

More than a hundred schools were destroyed during the military operation and they are still lying in ruins, he said, appealing to the government for their reconstruction. “The only way to durable peace is education and employment.”

Talking to The Express Tribune, ISPR Swat Spokesperson Colonel Zeeshan stressed that the killings would be dealt with. “The valley is safe and a large number of tourists visit every year to enjoy its scenic beauty,” he said, adding search operations were launched and several suspects arrested after the killing of peace volunteers.

“To maintain peace in society is our mission,” said a peace committee member Fazal Ahad promising to guard his valley with
his life.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.