Islamabad: After reports of abduction, killings and the re-emergence of Talibansurfaced in various areas of the Swat Valley and Parachinar in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP) province, locals have started taking to the streets to protest and condemn the incidents and demand peace.
Streets of the Mingora Bazaar was filled with a large number of locals of Swat, who carried banners and chanted slogans like “we want peace”.
The locals demanded authorities to take immediate action against the terrorists and stop the resurgence and presence of terrorists in their area, who they say have started to come back and spread terror in the valley.
The protest was attended by a large number of youth, elders, lawyers, transporters, traders, doctors and students.
Swat Qaumi Jirga and Swat Olasi Pasoon were the mian organizers of the protest while civil society, human rights representatives and political party leaders took part in the protest.
“We have a one-point agenda to demand peace in Swat. We will not allow another wave of militancy sweeping the valley. We demand peace from the state. And if the state fails to provide us with peace, then we will have to rise and take action for peace on our own for the same of our land,” said one of the protesters.
“We will not let terrorists regroup in Swat.”
Protesters reminded the chaos, bloodshed and unrest of 2007 till 2009, when Swat region was in control of the Taliban and beheadings were carried out in broad daylight.
“We cannot let those times of fear, trauma, destruction and killings come back to our homes. That is why every local of Swat has been asked to take action if they spot any suspected element in their areas,” said another protester.
Many of the protesters also questioned the silence of the KP Chief Minister, Mahmood Khan, who himself is from Swat.
Meanwhile, residents and locals of Kurram Agency district also staged a peace walk to protest and condemn the resurgence of militancy in their areas.
Marchers carried with them white flags and banners as they walked through the main markets of the town. Protesters demanded the authorities to take note of the deteriorating situation before it is too late.
A similar peace march also took place in Parachinar where protesters demanded authorities to take immediate action against the resurgence of the Taliban militants, who they said, have already resorted to extortion, killings and spreading fear among the locals.
The resurgence of the Taliban in various areas of Pakistan’s tribal belt is a serious concern.
The Taliban have a history of using these locations as their strongholds and operate from these areas to spread terror, instability and suicide terror attacks across the country.