Several people, majority of them civilians, have been killed in the on-going fighting in Pakistan’s scenic valley Swat which was described by tourists as Paradise on Earth.
The militant group led by Mullah Fazlullah, known as Radio Mullah for his provocative speeches on his own illegal FM radio, is not only answering back the security forces in the area but it has threatened to launch suicide attacks in the whole country.
‘We hate these militants, we hate their activities, we are not extremists but all of this mess happened because of the government’ said a displaced man who is now thinking about a permanent residence in Peshawar and wants to remain anonymous.
When asked why he wanted to blame the government, he said it was the government which allowed this Radio Mullah to deliver his provocative speeches and recruit young boys from madrassahs and schools to carry on his hostile activities. ‘When he appeared first, the government did not stop him. But when he recruited an army of militants, terrorized people and turned our paradise in a pandemonium, the government started shelling his safe houses’ he added.
According to residents of the area, thousands of people are displaced, all schools and education centers are closed and all business activities are stopped in Swat. People are angry at both the government and the militants but any anger is useless because both the parties have their own interests and their interests are fulfilled only by wars.
‘Our life is destroyed and our beautiful Swat is burning’ wrote a girl to a local newspaper some time back. The latest of this hostility was the setting of two girls’ schools on fire by the militants. On Saturday morning, they burned the buildings of the two schools in Matta, headquarter of the militants.
Swat had the status of a tourist location for past one century. People in holidays would go there and, on return, would say that they had visited paradise. Now just the word ‘Swat’ brings to mind a situation of war, militants, hatred, hostility, beheadings and blood everywhere. A paradise is burning.