Pakistan: Swat Situation and IDPs Report

Situation Report
Originally published


About District Swat:

District swat, the paradise on earth" is in the north west of Pakistan. District swat, is an administrative unit which lies in the jurisdiction of Malakand division, North West Frontier Province (NWFP.). Swat valley, the land of waterfalls, lakes, lush green hills and other gifts bestowed upon it by the nature, is only 270 kms drive from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Swat an attractive spot for the outsiders to be visited as many times as possible due to its natural beauty and unique culture. Swat, the princely state of the past, supports about 1330001 individuals having an area of about 8786 square km, a historic site of the world which has seen many rulers, cultures, civilizations and religions to be its parts once in the history. The Pashto-speaking people of the Swat valley belong to a group loosely called Yusufzai Pathans or Afghans. District Swat has witnessed numerous epochs over the last several thousand years. Since the Aryans, who migrated to the valley in the 14th century B.C., till the merger of the valley with Pakistan in 1969, the valley has seen the diverse lifestyles, different worldviews, numerous cultural traditions and distinct state institutions of its many inhabitants. Traditionally, the people of the valley remained peaceful, liberal and open in all cultural, social and political aspects.

Talibanization and Militancy in Swat:

The regions started manifesting extremist Islamic tendencies under the auspices of Mullah Fazlullah, a pro-Taliban religious cleric from the Swat district. Mullah Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad who is the founder of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), a radical group which has been trying to enforce Islamic Shariah law in the region. Maulana Fazlullah, a powerful cleric, who has led a campaign through an unlicensed radio station against polio vaccinations and education for girls in Swat district. The cleric holds considerable sway over the conservative population of the district and led a campaign denouncing television, music, polio drops and education for girls and women's empowerment through speeches on his illegal FM station. However, over time, Mullah Fazlullah radio broadcasts have become increasingly anti-American and anti-government in nature, so much so that after the Red Mosque siege in July 2007, Mullah Fazlullah urged the local populace to wage jihad (holy war) against the Pakistani authorities. In 59 villages, the militants set up a "parallel government" with Islamic courts imposing sharia law. The militants had challenged the writ of the government and the whole civil administration were paralyzed as the militants occupied majority of the police stations, BHUs, RHUs (Basic/Rural Health Units), educational institutions, and other government offices and vehicles an even started kidnapping and slaughtering of government servants and so far eleven innocent had been slaughtered and more than hundred of security forces personnel had been kidnapped.