Before the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement about monitoring the situation in Swat, reports emerging from the valley were getting more worrying by the day. There is no clarity on how this transpired, but there looked to be a militant presence in the region, with at least one reported checklist set up by armed individuals as well. This is not acceptable at all. The region saw its most tumultuous period in 2008–2009 when the valley was overrun by terrorists.

At the height of their power, the militants were controlling the area with their own brand of Shariah law, with Mullah Fazlullah running a parallel government in over 50 villages in Swat. One of the most famous victims of this brutal occupation was none other than Malala Yousafzai.

The ISPR has indicated that only a few militants have made their way back to the valley, but there must be a zero-tolerance approach to the movement of militants in the country. Our armed forces have fought a bloody war with one operation after another against the militants and to allow any territory to slip back into their hands would be tantamount to having sacrificed the lives of our brave soldiers and civilians for nothing. The writ of the Pakistani constitution is supreme across all our territories, and no group with guns—no matter how small—can change that.

This is why the KP police’s action against unarmed protestors, standing against militancy in Swat must also be condemned. Our citizens have a right to remind the state and others that they stand against any and all forms of terror in the region, and the arrests made by the police have no basis in the law. Claiming that state institutions were being defamed is easy and requires little proof. This is not an allegation to throw at a protest literally organised to promote peace. The KP police must do better