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Swat diary: 'End of violence'

Pakistani residents sit on their belongings as they flee from the troubled Swat valley on February 3, 2009
Violence has forced many residents to flee Swat in recent months

Munir (not his real name), an administrator in the Swat region of north-west Pakistan, describes the challenges of daily life in his valley as the Taleban and the army vie for influence. He says the peace deal between the two sides will transform life for ordinary people.


I am so happy. I am excited. This will bring peace to my village.

Last night there was celebratory gunfire throughout the whole of Swat because people were very excited.

We were indoors because of a curfew. That curfew has now been lifted.

I don't listen to [Maulana Fazlullah's] radio show... People listen to find out if they are on the target list
On Saturday our family was about to leave the village but when we heard that the government was going to promulgate Islamic Sharia law in Swat we were very happy, very excited. We decided to stay.

It might not mean the end of fear but it will mean the end of violence here.

Today on the roadside I saw dozens of families who had returned. The people are excited because they think we will stop being killed. They are returning to their places from other villages and from outside Swat. They had their goods.

'Collateral damage'

In our village more than a dozen families had left. Just last Friday one of the houses in our village was hit by a mortar shell. Thankfully nobody was hurt but then another mortar hit other houses nearby.

The week before last a woman and her child were killed by stray bullets.

Hundreds of innocent people have been killed by the army because they don't know who to kill in this war against the Taleban. So much "collateral damage".

One friend told me that his house was being targeted by the army because of Taleban in the area. He and his family had minutes to flee and they couldn't even bury the dead bodies inside - two of his aunts and two of his cousins.

But we must still remember that the Taleban have so much control here.

Remember that hundreds of schools were torched. I don't know what will happen to the girls who need school. There are no buildings that can be reopened.

'Just a game'

Then there is the radio show of the militant Maulana Fazlullah. It is his group who is in overall control. He broadcasts to the people of Swat.

It might not mean the end of fear but it will mean the end of violence here
I don't listen to his radio show - to tell you the truth I don't like his message. Nobody likes it but everybody is afraid because he summons the people and he lets them know that they are targets. People listen to find out if they are on the target list or not.

I think he will remain a big influence in Swat. I don't think anyone can harm him.

I don't know how this deal will affect their control. It is just a game. Some people say it is just a trick.

But still there is optimism. No matter what Sharia law, what deal they strike, people just like peace. It is as simple as that.

Read Munir's previous diaries:



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