Swat protesters end sit-in after successful talks with admin

SWAT: The almost-two-day-long sit-in, staged in protest against attack on a school van in Gulibagh area of Swat, was ended after successful negotiations between the District Administration and the bereaved family here Tuesday.

The protestors had been demanding arrest of the perpetrators of the attack, threatening to march to Islamabad if the authorities failed to accept their demands within 24 hours.

It is to be noted unidentified accused had fired upon van of a private school on Monday, killing its driver Hussain Ahmed while a second-grader Mamoon sustained critical gunshot wounds. Following the incident, the affected family, accompanied by locals, staged a sit-in by placing the dead body on Mingora-Khwazakhela Highway at Gulibagh area of Charbagh Tehsil.

The sit-in virtually left the road blocked for all kinds of traffic.

According to Rescue 1122 officials, the van was taking students to a school in Gulibagh area of Charbagh tehsil when unidentified assailants, riding on a motorcycle, had opened fire. The driver was killed on the spot, while two students were moved to the hospital after sustaining injuries.

The protestors reacted strongly to the lack of any action on the part of the government.

Early on Tuesday, the negotiation team headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner Swat Sohail Khan held talks with the affected family and local elders. The administration team acknowledged the protestors demands and assured that the family of the martyred driver will be provided “martyr package” while his children will be supported by the government. They also assured a family member of the martyr will be provided a government job.

The administration assured that an FIR has been registered and the affected family and Jirga leaders will be informed about the progress in investigation in the case. Later, funeral for martyred Hussein Ahmed was offered, which was attended by hundreds of people. He was later laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard after 40 hours of sit-in.

It is important to mention here that locals blamed the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan for the attack, but the group has denied responsibility. No other organisation has also claimed responsibility so far.

HUGE RALLY DENOUNCES DETERIORATING SITUATION

On the other hand, a protest demonstration was organized by Swat Olasi Pasoon at Nishat Chowk in Mingora, against the deteriorating situation and unrest in Swat, which was attended by thousands of people.

Civil society members, lawyers, students, political workers and people from all walks of life participated in the protest.

The protesters were waving white flags, a sign of peace, and chanted slogans “We want peace in our Swat”.

Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, ANP Provincial President Aimil Wali Khan, General Secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, Pakhtunkhwa MAP Mukhtiar Yousafzai, Afrasiab Khattak, PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen and other speakers addressed the demonstration.

The speakers said that unrest and terror activities will not be tolerated again in the peaceful valley of Swat, reiterating the “pledge not to allow anyone to shed blood of innocent people.”

Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, who was also in attendance, said that every citizen of Pakistan had the constitutional right to a “safe life protected by the state”.

“But unluckily, despite having a huge budget for the defense, the state has completely failed to ensure peace.”

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen said that it was ironic that in the presence of the security forces Taliban managed to enter Swat, and once again, target killings and fake encounters were being carried out.

“The people of Swat have already witnessed bloodshed. Children have seen their fathers’ dead bodies. The people of Swat were disgraced on check posts earlier in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The people of Swat were displaced, and their properties were destroyed and ruthlessly killed,” he said, adding that peace returned in 2009 and till 2022, durable peace prevailed.

“It is questionable that in a wink of an eye the situation turned into chaos where despite the presence of a large number of security forces, Taliban entered and started sabotaging peace,” he added.

They said that it is responsibility of the government and state institutions to protect the citizens and today we have only one demand from this protest that we want peace, nothing but peace.

Speakers said that we want the government and law enforcement agencies to take action against the terrorists entering Swat, otherwise the breakdown of law and order will be considered a failure of the state.

They said that despite the presence of a large number of law enforcers in Swat, attacks on innocent civilians and disruption of public order are a question mark on their performance.

On the other hand, private schools in several parts of Swat remained closed in protest against the incident.

The Private School Management Asso­cia­tion (PSMA) had announced that they would keep schools in the district closed on Tuesday and participate in a civil society protest at Nishat Chowk.

 

Syed Shahabuddin
Syed Shahabuddin
Reporter at Pakistan Today

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