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Terror incidents: The message from Swat is loud and clear

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Massive protests have erupted in the beautiful valley of Swat – against militancy and terrorism, as thousands of people took to the streets of the largest city of Swat district and commercial and industrial hub, Mingora, on Monday October 10.

This mass mobilization is an encouraging sign, showing the current mood against militancy and reactionary groups. The people are very obviously saying that they are not ready to accept the return of militancy and terrorism. While the people have learnt the necessary lessons based on their past experience, it is not clear how long it will take for our policymakers to learn these lessons.

The message from Swat is loud and clear: the people want peace, development and prosperity. They do not want the return of the Taliban, and of terrorism and destruction in their areas.

The people of Swat are not ready to accept the return of a reign of terror in their lives. The memory and trauma of the horror, destruction and terror experienced by the people during the Taliban insurgency from 2006 to 2009 is still there. The Swat, that was known for its natural beauty, pristine springs, waterfalls, orchards, lakes and lush green mountains was turned into a living hell by TTP militants. Innocent people were killed, girls’ education banned, hotels blown up and the local economy ruined. The people of the area lost their livelihoods. They do not want to go back to that dark period again and are determined to resist the return of militancy in their areas. They want peace in their lives and they paid a heavy price for this peace.

The recent protests were triggered by the killing of a van driver who was shot dead and two schoolchildren injured in a targeted attack on Monday morning in the Gulibagh area of Charbagh Tehsil. Working people, lawyers, traders, teachers, students, political activists and young people came out on the streets in huge numbers and expressed their anger against militancy and target killings. Protests are also taking place in some other districts of KP province against terrorism and target killings.

This is not the first time the people of Swat and other districts have responded to terrorism recently with massive demonstrations. The recent demonstrations are the second wave of protests in Swat and surrounding districts. The first wave of protests erupted in August this year when militants emerged in Tehsil Mata and Kabal of Swat district and incidents of target killings increased. As a result, thousands of people took to the streets in Swat and Lower Dir districts, voicing their concern at what seems to be a possible re-emergence of Taliban militants.

The recent incidents of target killings and terrorism have once again created doubts and fears. Thousands of local people depend on tourism for their livelihood. The reports of a possible return of the TTP have managed to spread fear among the local people and tourists. Tourism and terrorism cannot go hand in hand.

The people of KP in general and Swat in particular suffered a lot as a result of the Taliban insurgency from 2006 to 2009. Women suffered even more; girls’ schools were closed and destroyed; and Swat under the Taliban was converted into a killing field.

The people of Swat suffered a lot during the TTP rule and the subsequent operations. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. The Taliban had established a reign of terror in Swat. The military launched an operation to flush out the Taliban and restore the writ of the Pakistani state in the Malakand division. The Pakistan Army had conducted military operations Rahe Raast and Rahe Haq from 2007 to 2009 to retake control of Swat.

The fears expressed by the people are not completely baseless. These are based on past experience, a time to which the people are not ready to go back – a dark age of destruction, killings, repression. They want peace and prosperity in their area and are justified in their concerns.

It is the responsibility of the state to maintain law and order and to provide protection and peaceful living. The KP government needs to take a clear position on this sensitive issue. The government shouldn’t appear apologetic and the state must act to maintain peace and protect its people.

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The year’s longest day and shortest night are both today.

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The nation is experiencing an increase in oppressive heat. The longest day and shortest night of the year are respectively observed on this Friday.

Summer solstice is the name given to this event.

Because of the tilt of the Earth, the Summer Solstice happens twice a year when one of the poles is at its greatest degree towards the sun.

While the winter solstice occurs in December in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs in June in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is the longest day of the year, June 21st.

The shortest night of the year, nevertheless, will occur today.

14 hours will pass during the day and 10 hours during the night, according to the report.

Beginning on July 1, the day will progressively get shorter as June draws to a close.

The event known as equinox occurs on September 22, when day and night have equal lengths.

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Authorities report that during the Hajj, 35 Pakistani pilgrims perished from the intense heat.

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Thirty-five Pakistani pilgrims have died, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Abdul Wahab Soomro, the DG of the Hajj Mission, claims that nine Pakistanis perished in Mashair, four in Mina, three in Arafat, and two in Muzdalifah.

According to the Hajj DG, six pilgrims from Pakistan died in Medina and twenty died in Makkah.

According to the DG, the extreme 50 degree Celsius heat was the reason for the deaths. According to him, there was no basis for the claim that the pilgrims were neglected.

According to him, the Saudi government was informed of the remains, and the funeral plans were set up in compliance with the families’ desires. According to Soomro, plans had also been made to transfer the bodies to Pakistan.

He claimed that in these kinds of situations, the Saudi and Pakistani governments have always worked together.

Over 1,000 people have died.

According to AFP, more over 1,000 people have died during this year’s Hajj. According to the report, over 50% of them were unregistered worshippers who underwent the sweltering Saudi Arabian journey.

An Arab ambassador gave a breakdown of the 658 Egyptians who died, indicating that 630 were unregistered pilgrims. Of the additional deaths announced on Thursday, 58 came from Egypt.

One of the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims who have the means to do so must at least once, the annual pilgrimage, has resulted in 1,081 deaths overall, according to reports from about ten different countries.

Official announcements or diplomats working on their countries’ responses have provided the data.

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Pakistan

As PM Shehbaz creates committees to address the PPP’s issues, a thaw is evident.

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In response to the issues brought up by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari during their meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has established committees.

The PPP heavyweights and PML-N leaders met after Bilawal did not attend the June 12 National Assembly session when the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024–25 was unveiled.

The PPP chief’s concerns were mostly addressed by the prime minister at the meeting, when he also ordered committees to look into his grievances.

Sources claim that on Friday, the committees would undertake discussions to settle the differences between the ruling parties.

Bilawal once voiced concern over the PPP’s lack of faith in the budget. He emphasised that the PML-N is not carrying out the arrangement that the PPP had made to support the government.

Additionally, he charged that the Punjabi government was erecting obstacles in the way of the PPP’s advancement in the region.

For the welfare of the people as well as the growth and prosperity of the nation, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged all political parties to cooperate.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Senate Chairman, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, and Sherry Rehman were among the PPP delegation members.

Speaking at the event, the premier stated that additional talks over the budget for 2024–2025 were held with the Pakistan Peoples Party. He claimed that although the stock market had seen an unprecedented boom, the economy was exhibiting encouraging signs.

He claimed that the new fiscal year’s budget included measures to help the average person. He promised that committees will continue to be used for further consultation.

Afterwards, the prime minister hosted a dinner reception in honour of the PPP delegation.

In attendance were Speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Ministers for Planning and Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb and Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Political Affairs Rana Sanaullah, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Ali Pervez Malik, and former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

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