Swat: The paradise lost

By By Asim Effendi

On 1st August 2022, amid the heavy monsoon season, I traveled to Swat termed Switzerland of Pakistan, by none others but ourselves, a nation addicted to self-glorification, but sadly with a bleak future.

I ensured to meet my childhood friend Honourable Shaukat Khan Yousafzai, Commissioner Malakand Division being a Swati himself, and also Honourable Prince Shahrayar Amirzeb, a member of the Royal family of Swat to pay them my homage and engage in our nostalgic recollection of our common heavenly past and the challenges of today, where environment justice and life is amongst the cheapest of all commodities versus money the most sought after and preferred of all.

Though I failed to meet Honourable Junaid Khan, Deputy Commissioner Swat due to wanting of time and my having not secured an earlier appointment, the liberty that I could only take with Shaukat, being more a common Swati and friend than high official to me.

On Shaukat’s advice, I traveled further up to Kalam for first-hand environmental assessment after I submitted to him the initial presentation to help and salvage the serious environmental damage done to the area with the help and support of the renowned environmentalists, conservationists, architects, and concerned civil society and common citizens, something to be done as a cause then cause for money making-two different things, divided by a thin line.

Someone has to take the 1st step and take responsibility and ownership, I have taken the very first baby step out of my limited resources unless the society and PTI Government extend its wholehearted support and make it turn into a giant leap both for the nation and the country

Later,  on my own also met the local tribal community always up in arms against each other in territorial disputes and their tribal leaders, being one of the stakeholders and of the many cooks responsible for spoiling the broth.

Surprisingly, in the aftermath of the devastating floods of 2010 in Swat, where no structure all along the river banks survived, still, no lessons were learned.

Time for us the citizens to intervene to save Swat for Pakistan and our future generations, when they are denied Swiss visas they have something of their own to visit for free which they don’t value and are least thankful for to the Creator and his this very breathtaking creation, of which we as people and society, are the worst example of ingratitude.

When easy and quick money becomes the priority, the society fails to sustain itself that the divine sends water down from the heavens to clean our environment and sins that we pollute year round, after all our conscience, lawmakers, magistrates, and law enforcers surrender to money and the money makers that divine intervenes to wash our collective sins as a society, on the path of self-destruction, until we also get perished as a civilization for our collective destruction, no other reason, then our love for easy money for an easy life will have to be blamed then hiding behind inexplicable excuses.

Swat is blessed with everything, history, culture, traditions, and breathtaking landscape, but sadly not Swiss citizens, whose civic sense of keeping Switzerland green and clean, is what the world admires that makes Switzerland respected worldwide, more than just for its natural landscape, “Homes are built by people”, and so countries by nations. Let’s build Pakistan together.

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