A lot of hue and cry has been raised recently in response to a rally protesting against the threat of rise of militancy in Swat. There are reports on the resurgence of TTP in Swat one of the most scenic tourist destination of Pakistan. The history of this part of KPK is filled with horrors of terrorism which was successfully uprooted by the Armed Forces of Pakistan with full support of the people. So, all of sudden what has gone wrong and why there is so much of noise being made? Also the pertinent question arises: is there anything wrong at all or situation is being manipulated or constructed to achieve political mileage by hiding own governance failures? A deep dive into the history of Swat Operation can explain the answers of such questions.
It all started when terrorist organizations of Tereek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) and TTP started terrorist activities in the region that deteriorated ‘law and order’ situation in the area. At that time the government called Army for support in bringing peace in the region.
After successive operations including Operation Rah-e-Haq I, II & III, Operation Sherdil, Operation Rah-e-Rast, and Operation Black Thunderstorm, the military successfully eliminated the terrorists from the area. From 2007 to 2018 Pakistan Army comprehensively senitised the area and eventually in October 2018 after a decade of fighting and winning the war against terrorism by completing the phases of clear and hold, handed it over to PTI led KPK government for ensuring good governance by completing the other two important strands of build prior to transferring it to civilian government.
A formal ceremony was held in which the administrative and security control of Swat was handed over to the Chief Minister KPK Mehmood Khan (who also belong to the area). While addressing the ceremony the CM said; “Today is our victory day and we proudly announc that now there is no presence of any terrorist hideouts in Swat as Pakistan military successfully defeated them and destroyed all their hideouts in Swat and other parts of Malakand region.” “Terrorists had destroyed our educational institutions, health facilities and killed thousands of innocent people in Swat, Dir, Bunir and other parts of the Malakand Division, today complete peace has returned here,” Mehmood Khan added.
Defeating the menace of terrorism was a hard task in which Pakistan Army offered many sacrifices to bring peace in Malakand Division. The recent manufactured outcry on the so called resurgence of Taliban is being maliciously linked to Pakistan Army but the reality is KPK government itself acknowledged that the Army performed its job very well and brought full peace in the area. Through concentrated and effects based operations, army cleared the area from terrorists, held their positions for a significant time, meanwhile developing the necessary infrastructure, and then transferred the area to the civilian leadership.
Post 2018 when the full control of the area had been handed over to the civilian government, it was responsibility of KPK government to maintain the law and order situation and ensure good governance to establish full writ of the state. Having failed to deliver on multiple election promises in last 9 years of its rule in KP, question now arises why same government is hell bent on scapegoating LEAs for its own failures by manipulating totally unrelated incidents to build false perceptions that security situation in the area was fast deteriorating. Properly planned and well coordinated social media campaigns to amplify propaganda on Swat to malign security forces to achieve political objectives alone. Most of these people used to criticize Army’s presence in the area and viciously questioned Army’s establishment of checkpoints in various areas. The outcome of military operations in Swat was extremely fruitful and now any change in the peace and stability of the area is responsibility of the KP government which would be better advised to deliver to the people of Swat in particular and KP in general rather than doing petty politics over the unrelated and isolated incidents.