Spirit of Swat ‘kindled’ amidst great fanfare


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masud Kausar inaugurated the month-long festival, ‘Spirit of Swat’, in a colourful ceremony late on Saturday night. In his address to a large gathering, Kausar congratulated the people of Swat on return of peace and an end to militancy and terrorism. “You people have rendered tremendous sacrifices,” he remarked, adding that the government was determined to move forward and the similar events were meant to reaffirm faith in peace and tolerance. The governor appreciated the local administration and people for jointly arranging the Spirit of Swat and was hopeful of its positive effects.
He also appreciated the armed forces and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police for their contributions in the war on terror. Kausar said the locals should encourage the tourists as there was complete across the scenic valley. He reminded the people that tourism was the backbone of Swat’s economy, which had been devastated by terrorists. Provincial Information and Culture Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain reaffirmed the government’s commitment root out extremism and said terrorists were following an agenda, which was neither in the interest of the country or the people. “The terrorists are not only killing innocent people but their acts are also damaging the image of Islam,” he remarked while urging the masses to unite against the terrorists.
Later talking to media, Mian Iftikhar said, “The government believes in negotiation and is determined to talk with those Taliban who lay arms and ensure the respect to writ of law.” He said they did not believe in personal enmity but were determined to maintain law and order. Answering to question, Mian Iftikhar said, “The ongoing wave of terrorism and violence in the country is due to the involvement of external forces in the region. Pakistan, Afghanistan and United States are three the major partners in the war on terror but there is lack of trust amongst these countries.” He expressed the hope that violence and terrorism would be rooted out after the partners entered into an era of complete trust and faith. The Spirit of Swat is aimed at stimulating tourism and economic activities in the violence-hit valley. Cultural events, sports, musical concerts and seminars are a part of the programme and would be arranged right from Mingawara to Kalam. On the first day, a hockey tournament was inaugurated at the Grassy Ground. Teams from Swat, Buner, Shangla, Dir, Chitral and other areas are participating the in the event.