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Swat: From Heaven to Hell Swat: From Heaven to Hell
by Abdulhadi Hairan
2008-08-06 08:39:04
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Once known as paradise on the earth (at least for Pakistanis) for its natural beauty, tourist spots, ancient heritage and peaceful people, Swat Valley has now become stronghold of the pro-Taliban militants who have destroyed nearly all music centers, net cafes, barber shops and other markets of the area through bomb explosions to impose their Sharia laws.

People of Swat Valley were then happier, more peaceful and more educated than the Pashtoons of other areas. They were considered lucky for their naturally and historically rich locality and different attitude toward life.

The cult of extremism engulfed all the Pashtoon-dominated areas including Swat when America, Europe and Arab countries launched jihad against Soviet Forces in Afghanistan. The secret agencies established countless madrassahs all over which produced armies of extremists and militants for fighting in Afghanistan.

After America won the jihad, all the involved countries returned to their own businesses and left Afghanistan in the hands of those extremists and militants. They were addicted to kill, behead, destroy and abduct people. So they continued this "business" which they still like to call jihad. They killed millions of people and destroyed their livings. They also mercilessly killed and beheaded each other to satisfy their addiction.

The Pakistani militants and extremists, backed by the country's intelligence agencies, continued to teaching and preaching extremism and training militants in their madrassas. They were always used for political motives in the name of Islam and jihad.

In 90s, a militant leader named Maulana Sufi Mohammad, who was heading Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Sharia-Mohammadi (Movement for Imposing Mohammedan Sharia), ordered his men to attack government buildings. They captured some places but security forces repelled them and fierce fighting erupted in which both sides bore heavy casualties.

When US forces attacked on Afghanistan to eliminate terrorism after the 9/11 incident, Maulana Sufi Mohammad send thousands of Pakistanis to Afghanistan to fight American forces. Most of them are still missing and it is not known whether they are died or alive.

On his return from Afghanistan to Pakistan without the thousands Pakistanis he had sent, security forces arrested him and thrown him into a prison where he still counts days and nights of his sentence. His group TNSM is banned in Pakistan as well as internationally.

Maulana Fazlullah, who has his own militant group which is currently fighting against government forces, is his son-in-law. This man has proved to be more cruel and powerful than his father-in-law.

In the start, he preached extremism through illegal FM radios and trained militants in his madrassa. Security forces and intelligence agencies blind-eyed waited for his developments. They never tried to prevent him establishing himself and gaining power. Once he armed thousands of young boys, gained exceeded power, arms and money from "hidden hands" and terrorized the people, the government sent troops and started counter him. Does not it seem a well-planned game?

The group has killed a high number of people and security forces, destroyed historical sites and Buddhist remains, damaged many markets in its suicide attacks and explosions, terrorized thousands of people and provoked religious hatred to the highest extent. These things have changed the Valley from a paradise into a hell for its own people as well as outsiders. Due to their terror, all healthy activities are stopped and most of the political, educational, tourism, health, aid and non-governmental organizations are closed.

On Friday, October 26, 2007, Pakistani security forces, backed by gunship helicopters, tried to enter Imam Dheri, headquarter of the militant group, on the second day of a suicide attack which killed over 30 people, but the militants started firing at them. Thus a fighting erupted which continued all the day.

During the fighting, the militants abducted 8 security forces, beheaded them and paraded their beheaded bodies in the area. They warned people they will meet the same consequences if anyone supported the government. These incidents show their power and the future of the area.

First published Oct 28, 2007

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