Swat's descent into chaos: Basim Usmani
Taliban militants have taken the Swat valley in Pakistan – why is the country turning a blind eye?
Basim Usmani guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 4 February 2009
Swat, once a resort for Pakistanis on holiday, has fallen to the Taliban. The battle for Swat began in 2007, while the country was distracted by ongoing operations in the tribally administered northern areas and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Now, President Zardari's preoccupation with the Mumbai attacks has given the militants in Swat, Tehreek-e-Taliban, a chance to rap up their bombing campaign of girls' schools.
The Tehreek has blow up 170 girls' schools in Swat to date. Oblivious to Swat's descent into chaos, the government has been busy cracking down on Jamat-ud-Dawa, the humanitarian organisation that operates allegedly with militia in Kashmir, in a series of enthusiastic measures to abate Indian pressure post-Mumbai.
A week ago, the government took control of Jamat-ud-Dawa's public schools in their headquarters in Muridke, a small pit-stop city economically dependent on neighboring Lahore, the capital of Punjab. The Dawa's influence is striking: truckers coming through on the "Grand Truck Road" found no cigarettes or chewing tobacco, which have been banned from sale in accordance with the organisation's edicts.
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