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Swat diary: Living on a frontline

October 8, 2008

I read that on BBC website.

Munir (not his real name), an administrator in the Swat region of Pakistan, describes the challenges of daily life in his valley as the Taleban and the army vie for influence. This week, as schools are burned down in nearby villages, the area has to cope with lengthy power cuts.

We have been in deep trouble for many weeks now.

Yesterday, there was a terrible incident about 10km away from us. Two schools were torched, they were burned down. One of the buildings was an ordinary school and the other was a good college.

A friend of mine witnessed it. He said it was as if the school was blown up. He saw the flames in the buildings. The local Taleban have claimed responsibility for this.

In our valley schools are open but the village is concerned. Attendance is very low in the main school. Many parents are afraid to send their children.

There is a lot of talk around here about what happened when the schools were burned down. Locals from that area say they believe the army did it because they don’t think the Taleban could do something like that.

They see their local Taleban eating, smoking – they seem unable to do anything even though they claim responsibility for everything.

Even if somebody falls off a bicycle, they would claim responsibility for that. That is the popular perception.

‘Slapped’

People think the army does not do enough. In a village called Kabal the Taleban checks vehicles and stops women who are not wearing the burqa.

One man told me how just the other day he had been travelling with friends. The women in the car were asked to dismount. When she dismounted the Taleban slapped her in the face and asked why she didn’t put on the veil.

The thing is, the army was just 25-30 yards away. They did nothing. When they act like that, people start to think they are responsible for things.

Power cuts

We have no power in our district. The power grid station and the gas supply were blown up. We get electricity for only one hour a day. I only get to use the internet once every 15 days or so.

Many people said they can’t do business because they have no computer. All day and all night businesses have to shut down. People can’t make money.

In my house we used to study at night but now our life has changed. We just go to bed. We can’t study or do anything good. We have no light. Only rich people have generators.

It is the 21st Century and we don’t have power. We haven’t seen power for days in my village.

In the main city of Mingora there are constant traffic jams. It can take three hours to cover a stretch of 25 yards. It feels that a lot is falling apart.”

Swat diary: Living on a frontline

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2008 3:46 pm

    we are on way to hell
    can you feel the heat?

  2. Ayesha permalink
    October 8, 2008 3:50 pm

    Very, very much!

  3. October 8, 2008 10:10 pm

    i was trying very hard to see that tiny flicker of hope still lurking somewhere but it was hard after reading such an expression full of nothing but wretchedness

    May Allah(SWT) help us through these tough times. Ameen!

  4. October 9, 2008 4:08 am

    According to a friend of mine who’s a doctor and hails from the same unfortunate region, almost all the people in the guise of taleban are foreigners. The locals don’t understand the languge they speak. They abduct children and torch girls’ schools. The abducted children are brainwashed to be suicide bombers. Its a common feeling in the area that the government isn’t doing much except for indiscriminate shelling causing casualties to the civilians. Furthermore they are clueless as to where from these aliens poured in to the area in such a short span of time.
    The inhabitants of Swat generally are very peace loving and civilized people. A modern city where there is an airport, a medical college, a university and a number of luxury hotels and restaurants cannot be associated with the tribal belt. There is definetly some conspiracy involved to destabalize the whole region of NWFP and Pakistan.

  5. Ayesha permalink
    October 10, 2008 10:15 am

    I too have heard and read reports like that Aadil. A great game is going on and I wonder why our agencies were so ignorant about it.

  6. owais permalink
    October 21, 2008 3:55 am

    Aadil, what you say might be right. I also came across this article that really raised concerns regarding who the real Taliban are in Pakistan. Check it out!

    http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/10/07/1500617.aspx

  7. Asma permalink
    October 23, 2008 4:36 am

    Aadi and Ayesha – Do you seriously believe the agencies dont know the truth? They know everything but are powerless to do anything – A small fish has no refuge from the shark in the sea – if you get what I am trying to say here.

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