Culture Distortion and the Rise of Militancy in Swat

By Khan, Zafar; Khurshaid | Pakistan Journal of Criminology, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Culture Distortion and the Rise of Militancy in Swat


Khan, Zafar, Khurshaid, Pakistan Journal of Criminology


Introduction

In not so distant past, the Swat Valley of Pakistan was known for its relatively calm, peaceful and prosperous environment. However, completely inverse picture was observed in the same valley in the first decade of this century. The foundations of an organized state system were laid in 1917 as a result of Kabal Jirga. Maingul Abdul Wadud was made the head of the state. Later on, the state was merged with Pakistan in 1969. However, the post merger period of the valley faced numerous challenges, which ultimately surfaced in the shape of Taliban militancy. Therefore, various socio political changes have occurred after 1969 (Sultan-i-Rome, 2008). Generally, there are certain factors responsible for the socio-cultural distortion in Swat and particularly over throne Maingul Abdul Wadud rule. The people of Swat have suffered on numerous socio-cultural, economic and political grounds after the post merger era. Currently, the local inhabitants of Swat have been passing from critical condition as a result of post merger distortion. They are fed up of the lawlessness, war and uncertainty. However, the only solution they all agreed upon is the re-introduction of the type of Wali system. What takes them into such nostalgia? It will become clear if the system under Wali is analyzed.

Political Administrative System of Swat under Wali-e-Swat

Before the merger period the system of Swat valley was based on the amalgamation of Pashtun cultural traits and some modern principles. Riwaj (customs) used to be the foundation of Swat state system. "Miangul Abdul Wadud and Miangul Abdul Haq Jehanzeb, the rulers of Swat, governed the State under local customs called Riwaj.* In most cases, Riwaj (custom) was more powerful than the religious injunctions (Swati, 1984). Therefore, "the judicial system of Swat was not Islamic in its essence as is commonly believed. It was a synthesis of the traditional codes, Islamic norms compatible with the traditional codes, and the commands, orders and words of the ruler" (Sultan-i-Room, 2006, December). For this purpose, the customary law book of swat (Riwaj Nama-e-Swat) was compiled. It carried the details of various customs. In essence, rewards and punishments were designed in the light of local customs. If it is about civil or criminal cases the customary law used to be a guiding star. The laws of the swat state were made in the light of Pakhtun cultural values and Pakhtunwali. The laws of the swat state were strictly followed in the time of Main Adul Wadud. The basic reason behind the commitment of the local were the acceptance these laws on the indigenous level. p

Judicial System of Wali-e-Swat

The judicial system of Wali-e-Swat was famous for the speedy justice. Justice was provided at door step to the people of swat valley and cases were decided at hand during Wali era. The local people were not deprived from justice. As a result of speedy justice system the local people were satisfied from the rule of wali swat. Particularly, the era of Miangul Jehanzeb was an impetus in this regard. He introduced drastic reforms in every field. He was rightly called founder of Swat (Memar-e-Swat) (Khaliq, 2011, September 26). Swat was not having a viable education system. His father introduced an education system that he led it to new peaks later on. He developed an environment where everyone was having easy access to all educational institution. Even the downtrodden were made able to get it cheaply. There was no discrimination in this regard. Those, who could not afford, were given stipends and scholarship. For meritorious educational services, he was titled Sultanul Ulum (the master of knowledge). Regarding peace, Swat valley under Wali system was very exemplary. Nobody could disrupt peace there and nobody could challenge the rule of Wali. That's why "the people of Swat today are still nostalgic about the days of peace during the Wali's time" (Aziz, 2010).

Moreover, judicial administrations met needs and aspirations of Swatis during Wali times. …

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