School Van Attack – Editorials

EDITORIAL: In Chaarbagh, the tehsil of Swat, unidentified bikers opened fire on a school van. The driver was killed instantly while two children were injured. The Swat District Police Officer (DPO) told the media that an investigation into the incident was ongoing and the culprit(s) would soon be behind bars.

Yet in an obvious attempt to downplay the significance of the attack, he said the intended target was the driver, not the students. The tragic incident recalls the days when militants regularly attacked schools, as well as a similar attack on a school van in which well-known advocate for girls’ right to education, Malala Yousafzai, was seriously injured.

Regardless of the DPD’s version, it was obvious to locals who the perpetrators might be and why. Many residents of Chaarbagh along with students staged a sit-in while the Private Schools Management Association staged a separate protest, vowing not to tolerate any terrorist activity against students or teachers in Swat, also demanding that the state fulfills its responsibility to ensure the security of all citizens.

In addition, the Association announced that schools would remain closed on Tuesday to allow students and teachers to participate in a civil society protest at Nishat Chowk in Mingora against the creeping intrusion of TTP (Tehrik-e- Pakistani Taliban).

It is pertinent to recall here that over the past few months there have been reports of the return of hundreds of these violent extremists to Swat, Dir and some tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). That allowing these indoctrinated violent extremists to come from Afghanistan was a huge mistake is becoming increasingly clear.

Last month, residents of Swat and KP’s Khyber district staged large protests in the presence of militants who they said were involved in targeted killings, kidnappings and extortion. Around the same time, the Ministry of Interior sent a letter to all provincial governments as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan advising them to observe “extreme vigilance” and to take the necessary security measures because the peace negotiations with the TTP had “come to an end”. a stop “.

If the hope was that the TTP would voluntarily disarm and integrate into society, events in Swat and other areas have proven that it was a futile expectation. Those familiar with the events also expressed concern that returning militants could regroup at their former base of operations in North Waziristan.

Validating their concern, the letter from the Interior Ministry says known militant commanders based in Waziristan have been in contact with the TTP high command in Afghanistan for instructions on moving to the area to escalate terrorist activity.

It is therefore not surprising that in recent months there has been an upsurge in attacks on security forces. Before the situation escalates, the government and the security establishment must reconsider their policy of talking peace with the TTP terrorists, that is, if the resumption of the “stalled” negotiations n is not already on the table.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022