Strengthening Peace: Kohistanis invite president to attend cultural event

A three-day Swat-Kohistan Indigenous Culture Festival “Simam”, to be held from July 11.

PESHAWAR: Kohistanis have invited President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the three-day Swat-Kohistan Indigenous Culture Festival “Simam”, to be held from July 11.

The Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBTT) sent a letter to the president, inviting him to attend the event, which will take place in Bahrain, a scenic town in Swat.

The letter says that Swat Valley was once considered the Switzerland of Pakistan. However the people fell victim to barbarism and terror after suffering from militancy and floods, both of which caused physical and psychological damage to the people of the valley, the letter said.

“The security forces were able to get rid of terrorism…. however, the local people also cooperated with the government and rendered countless sacrifices for the purpose,” the letter reads.

The prime minister and other officials regularly cite the operation as a testament to Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism, but what is missing in these statements is the cost paid by the Swatis, and whether their plight ends here or will it be prolonged as the war on terror goes on, the letter said.

“A peaceful Swat is the only successful mission in Pakistan’s war against terrorism. What we want is to make Swat an example of peace, development, beauty and pluralism, [for which we need billions of rupees in funding],” the letter added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.

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