"Peace in Swat was destroyed due to agreements signed by Awami National Party (ANP) with militants."

Dialogue with Taliban?

Amir Muqam blames ANP for Swat chaos
Updated at: 1830 PST, Wednesday, February 04, 2009 (The News)

PESHAWAR: PML-Q leader Amir Muqam said Wednesday that peace in Swat was destroyed due to agreements signed by Awami National Party (ANP) with militants.

Addressing a press conference here, Muqam said that ANP should apologise to the nation for the policies it adopted in Swat. He said that militants and peace seeking people could be exposed in Swat by implementation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation Act.

PML-Q leader further said peace could be restored with enforcement of Shariat or Islamic laws in the troubled valley.

However, he slammed militants for destroying schools.

A large number of people had left the valley due to poor security situation, he said.


Whither accord?

Failure and aftermath of the Swat peace agreement

Ever since last year’s May-21 peace deal between the militants and ANP failed, the security situation in Swat district has been deteriorating. The militants operating under the command of Maulana Fazlullah started blowing up schools and bridges. So far, they have bombed or torched 185 schools–122 girls and 63 boys–across the valley and destroyed around 25 bridges. According to official figures, as many as 57,900 students have been deprived of their fundamental right to education.

The militants’ decision in December last to ban female education from Jan 15, 2009, with bombing as a consequence of defiance, shocked everyone. Around 40,000 girls of private schools and 84,248 of the state-run schools would be affected by the militants’ threat. The central spokesman of the banned outfit TTP, Maulvi Omar, was also shocked and he promised to use his ‘good office’ to press upon the Swat Taliban to withdraw the decision. But they are still sticking to their guns.

Till date, the militants have carried out 10 suicide attacks against the security forces, killing and maiming hundreds of people. The military launched a full-scale operation in their strongholds–Koza Bandai, Bara Bandai, Ningwalai, Kabal village, Shakardara, Alamganj, Khwazakhela, Peuchar and others. For the first time since the inception of the military operation, the forces used jetfighters along with gunship helicopters. They claimed having cleared several strongholds of the militants, but this proved otherwise. The months-long military action in the second phase of the ‘Rah-i-Haq’ (or Righteous path) did not produce the desired results, as the top leadership remained unharmed. The military claimed to have killed 784 militants and admitted having suffered more than 180 casualties in the battle.

Despite repeated pledges by the military to root out militants, the latter’s influence extended to other areas of the valley besides the neighbouring districts. Gradually, they gained more territory from Madyan to Barikot and Mingora.

In the last and first weeks of December and January respectively, the emboldened militants launched activities in Mingora. Hanging bodies after target-killings and slitting throats were the order of the day. Around 30 bodies were hung from trees and poles at the Grain-turned-Green Chowk, which petrified the local population, forcing them to leave the valley. The security forces were severely criticised for not coming to the rescue of people under attack from the militants and the growing power of the insurgents.

The militants issued a list of 47 wanted persons including former and incumbent ministers, MNAs, MPAs, nazims and others, summoning them before the Taliban courts to clear their position or face the music.

Today, the situation is out of control in the valley. The NWFP Assembly passed a resolution asking the forces to make the operation more effective and result-oriented.

— Delawar Jan