SWAT - Anti-Taliban peace committee leaders have paid a heavy price in their efforts to restore peace in Swat Valley and have been targeted repeatedly by the enemies of peace. This year too, like previous years, the members of peace committee are facing renewed threats.
The peace committee system was set up by the Pakistan Army after restoration of peace in Swat Valley following the 2009 military operation against the Taliban. There are a total of 65 union councils in Swat Valley and every UC has one village defence committee or peace committee, comprising 30 to 60 members. The peace committee members keep an eye on insurgents and help security and law enforcement forces in their respective areas.
When this scribe contacted Zahid Khan, president of All Swat Hotel Association and a member of a peace committee, he said, “We are helping security forces as patriotic citizens in fight for peace and prosperity of our country. However, law enforcement agencies and the government have failed to provide us security. Many of our friends have been killed as a result of militant attacks.”
In August 2012, Khan was shot in the face in a targeted attack in Swat. He still bears the half-inch scar of a gunshot wound on the right side of his face.
Police data shows that on April 16 this year, a peace committee member Javedullah s/o Mohammad Faheem, resident of Shakardara tehsil of Matta, was injured in an assassination attempt by unknown assailants while his cousin Gran Khan died in the attack. After the attack, curfew was imposed in the area for 10 days but still the culprits have not been arrested. A week before the attempt on Javedullah, an unidentified suicide bomber targeted a local peace committee member Dr Farooq, who was in his clinic situated at Charbagh area. The terrorist blew himself up after entering the clinic but, luckily, Dr Farooq and other people present inside the clinic remained unhurt. Likewise, a peace committee leader Shah Zaman s/o Mohammad Saeed Khan, resident of Mingora, was shot dead by unknown persons on January 12, 2014.
The year 2013 was equally dangerous for members of peace committees, as nine leaders were targeted in 2013, while 21 peace committee members have been killed in Swat by unidentified militants for the last four years.
According to the police data, on July 26, 2013 unknown persons shot dead a peace committee member Yaqoob Khan son of Hussain in Bar Sher Palam Malta. On August 31, 2013 unidentified men targeted Akbar Ali son of Nazir Gul, resident of Kozdoreshkhela Malta. On April 14, 2013 Mukuram Shah son of Karim Bakhs was killed.
On July 27, 2013 unidentified people targeted Barikhur Rehman son of Firdous in Imam Dherai, Swat. On May 16, 2013 Shah Duran son of Gulyar was killed by unidentified people in Damghar area of Swat. On October 05, 2013 Qalander Khan son of Haji Nadar Khan was killed by unknown persons in Charbagh area. On October 26, 2013 Syed Javeed Hussain son of Syed Malook was targeted by unknown people at Malamjabba, while on December 03, 2013 Qari Saeed son of Ali Akbar was killed by unknown militants in Sambat Cham area of Matta.
All of the slain and injured peace committee members have got their cases registered against unknown militants.