Swat a Paradise lost - Impact of the Cold war and Political Islam on Swat
Jal Ke Dil Khaak Hua
dil ke phaphole jal uthe seene ke daag se
Es ghar ko aag lag gayi , ghar ke chirag se
My heart is burnt to ashes,
my scars of heart are oozing from the wounds in my chest,
This house has been brunt from the oil-lamp of the house,
The present British Queen Elisabeth during her visit to Swat in 1961 on the Invitation of the then President Ayub Khan visited Chakdara and the Churchill Picket and sent a message from there to Mr Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill served in one of the punitive expeditions in the Malakand Pass in 1897, and during her visit the Queen sent him a telegram saying: "Greetings from Malakand". At Saidu Sharif, the Wali of Swat, Major-General Abdul Jahanzeb, greeted the Royal couple at his residence among the sunlit, snow-covered mountains. The Queen and Duke had come for a two-day stay, during which the Duke joined in two shooting expeditions. They were greeted at Mardan by Lutheran Bishop Christiansen Jens, a Danish-American who has served in this region for the last forty years. Queen Elizabeth, was impressed by its beauty and called it the "Switzerland of Asia."
*She visited a chapel built by British soldiers serving on the north-west frontier, and in its graveyard lie many who died in frontier fighting with tribesmen. The gothic chapel of Mardan is a scene reminiscent of England but set in Pakistan's Malakand Pass, where Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh toured on Feb. 7
Memoirs by two Political Officers Mr McMahon Political agent and Mr Ramsey Assistant Political agent say that the British had underestimated these people. Mr Winston Churchill the one time Prime Minister was a Lieutenant and Military correspondent then. A Picket on a hilltop by the riverside is named after him. From Mardan, the Royal visitors continued their 100-mile journey from Peshawar to Saidu Sharif, capital of the small principality of Swat. Along the route, tribesmen from the wild hill country crowded into the towns and villages to greet the Queen and Duke in the fine spring weather.
Alexander the Great came to Adenzai area from Bajaur and enroute faced an unyielding resistance in Talash. During a battle, an arrow pierced through his heel and he was confined to bed for some time. The local ruler then was a woman and it so happened that a patch up was negotiated between the two opposing heads and strangely enough it concluded into a connubial life as a result of such negotiation. During the British Invasion of Malakand in 1895 the people of Malakand and Adenzai fought valiantly against British forces.
The Evil that man do:
Pakistan and Afghanistan are caught between modernism and medievalism, between LUMS and Deoband/Wahabism. To comment on events and happenings in Afghanistan dissociated with the established cultural norms of 'Pashtunwali,' the politics of 'The Great Game between The Raj,' and Peter the Great, and the fall of the USSR designed and orchestrated by the Americans with the help of Pakistani ISI, is brutalisation of record.
The material advantage of winning the Cold War without a 'nuclear holocaust' is all forgotten; once the Russians were defeated, the green- turbaned Jihadists were left in thousands to seek a new enemy of the faith. Unfortunately, they found in the absence of freedom in 'Hijaz' the only enemy as the supporter of the House of Saud, the USA. History with noticeable gaps is intellectual criminality; some engage in it intentionally, others due to lack of perspective.
How it became what it is now?
Swat is in prominence as a new hell-hole of how a region becomes de-civilise once political Islam moves in. The case of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani student activist who was attacked and has captured the world’s attention. The State was secular in nature. Queen Elizabeth was among the admirers of the natural beauty of Swat. When Swat was voluntarily merged into Pakistan in 1979, it was more peaceful than other regions of Pakistan because it was urbanized. Mingora - Swat's main city had a ingrained silk industry. When Swat joined Pakistan it had the highest literacy rate, particularly among women. People benefited from a good economy, as tourism gradually turned into an industry.
Under Wali of Swat, Swat State prospered. The Pakistani government could not continue the State policy of transformation and illumination but adopted adverse policies, thereby plummeting the valley into darkness and bigotry. Political Islam was introduced by Zia. A merger enacted by the Islamisation destroyed the fabric of the society. It brought misery in the lives of the educated, collectively developed, efficiently flourishing disciplined area of Swat. The people of the region were more civil than any from the neighbouring areas. Forests were protected, Fresh waters were unsoiled, law and order situation was commendable, Justice was direct and cultural activities were supported and encouraged.
The rule of military dictator, General Zia ul haq, and the so called holy war in Afghanistan affected the resourceful valley Swat. The valley, being situated in PATA (Provincial Administered Tribal Area), provided safe haven for drug traffickers, Arms smugglers and investment place for Pakistani corrupt officials. The land of the Pashtuns was the battleground for the last war of the Cold War. While others benefited from it, the Pashtuns were destroyed -- 3 million people were killed, millions more were displaced, and hundreds of thousands maimed. Again, within 25 years, another global war in the name of the "war on terrorism" was imposed on the Pashtuns. Today, an idea is being spread around the world that the Pashtuns -- as a nation -- are terrorists, extremists, and all of them are labelled Taliban.
It was Sofi Muhammad in Swat who founded Tehrik-i-Nafaz-i-Sharia-i-Mohammadi (TNSM) in Dir in 1989. Maulana Sufi Muhammad started a movement called Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (movement for the implementation of Muhammad's Shari'a). Some 10 percent of the local population supported that group initially, as it was nonviolent. But after the U.S. attacks against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, many of his followers went to Afghanistan to wage jihad. Many of them never returned. . In 80s the religious seminaries mushroomed, which were sponsored by the state through financial support from Ushar Zakat department @ Rs.360 per student. Resultantly, gradually and steadily the progressive society of the valley lost its individuality. The people of the valley fell victims to nuisance, powerlessness and helplessness due to a dishonest judicial system, broken down health and defence and a imposition of a neglected medieval education system.
In Swat Sofi introduced his own interpretation of Islamic laws. Taliban in Afghanistan after their uprooting, got the opportunity to introduce a battered construal of the Islamic Sharia’a in the madrassas established with the help of rich Punjabis industrialists, the local religious scholars refuse to go along with the developing trend but, almost certainly, the unbending elucidation of Islam won the political power among the uneducated fragment of the public.
The viciousness and destruction you see is what happens when Political Islam raises its stakes in a society, don't lament too much; beware that this preoccupation with 'Talbenic Justice' results in a society that becomes a hell-hole from a earthly heavens in no time. This is our collective failure the breakdown resulting from cruel imposition of political Islam and its hideous tentacles.
"Switzerland of Asia" to ''Hell point of Asia.'' This what Talibinsation brings to a region!