As trucks carrying Pakistan civilians who were returning to their homes in the Swat Valley entered the town they saw a figure of a young man hung upside down from a hydro tower and carrying a message taped to his chest: “If nyone takes down this body, he will meet the same fate. This is a warning to the Taliban.” The body was either strung up by the Pakistan military or some angry civilians who were tired of being oppressed by the bearded men whose message is hate. The swinging body is a common tactic employed by the Taliban to intimidate and apparently someone decided to emulate the enemy they hate. Pakistan’s military claims it has killed over 1,500 Taliban and restored peace to the valley, but to residents who only too well recall similar promises and then being abandoned to the Taliban the issue is whether they will once again meet that fate.
Refugees are being given food and money to return home. But, a vital step to ensure peace is creating local militia which can maintain law and order. There must also be economic stimulus programs which ensure peace and prosperity. Like residents of the Swat Valley, we wait and hope for a future free of the Taliban.