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Top Story

November 4, 2007

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Militants with a radio to boot

Karachi

Surfing on different blogs this week, one came across some concerned posts by a few bloggers regarding the grave situation in Swat. This valley was considered to be one of the best tourist attractions of Pakistan. The recent shift in situation in the region has left a bad taste in the mouth for many. This time, chowrangi.com had a number of posts concerning the situation in the Swat region.

One of the bloggers wrote, “The main actor in Swat is one Maulana Fazlullah. He has created a state within the state and has implemented Shariah in the Malakund division. He has been active in the area for the last five years and even has his own FM radio to convey his message.

He has literally created a vast constituency with a massive following. He started spreading his messages to women only at first, and now huge numbers of men and women are following him in that area and in the suburbs”.

One of the concerns posted was that how could things get so out of hand all of a sudden. The same blogger wrote, “Maulana Sirajuddin, the spokesperson of Maulana Fazlullah, has said that Swat is not Islamabad, and we will not let anyone in ‘our’ area. How have things suddenly become so grave? Why have they let it cook for so long? Where in the hell is the so-called writ? Why is everybody suddenly recalling the writ of the government? FATA or no FATA, the people who live there are Pakistanis, and they are entitled to enjoy their full rights. Common people have started to migrate from Swat, as the situation is getting worse. Though talks for reconciliation are underway but who knows anymore…”

Another interesting blog site – individualland.com – where the main question raised regarding the Swat situation was “Who is to be blamed?” The posts questioned, “Where were the intelligence agencies, government, etc., when Maulana Fazlullah was allegedly organising his 4,500-strong Shaheen Force? Why was Maulana Fazlullah allowed to

operate an illegal FM station when every other day, the government curbs the freedom of the registered FM stations when they try to broadcast current affairs programs? Where was the government when an individual was allegedly setting up ‘parallel governments’ in the 59 villages of Swat?” To this, a blogger on the same site posted: “There is logic behind this madness, that is, to divide and rule.

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