The Right to Safety
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Thousands of people took to the streets in Pakistan’s Swat Valley to protest against rising insecurity in the region following the murder of a bus driver by an unknown assailant this week, Al Jazeera reported.
Local officials said that more than 15,000 people attended Tuesday’s demonstrations – the sixth over the past two months – to express anger at the increase in killings in the area and demand the government does more to ensure the safety of Swat’s residents.
The protests came a day after a gunman on a motorcycle shot dead local bus driver Hussain Ahmed and wounded one student.
Police have ruled out “terrorism”, but said they are continuing to investigate.
Even so, Pakistani lawmaker Mohsin Dawar warned that there has been an increased presence of “militants” in the area with little done in reaction.
Monday’s attack occurred just after the 10th anniversary of the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai by the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, in the Swat Valley. At the time, Yousafzai was a 15-year-old schoolgirl advocating for girls’ education. She was shot in the head for her activism, but survived.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Located about 150 miles from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, Swat, a lush area of mountains, was long a vacation spot for Pakistanis until it became a major TTP stronghold. In 2009, the army drove the group out.
Still, violence continues in the area as peace talks between Pakistan’s security forces and the TTP have failed to yield any progress.