Swat, peaceful beauty, land of color, roses and gushing rivers, rich in history, home to myriads of Buddhist stupas, idyllic spot for glorious Pashtun traditions of love, peace, and hospitality, until recently. Once a paradise on earth — now all is lost.
“There was a time when women and girls from the valley traveled from Mingawara town all the way by foot over the high and legendary Mountains of Elum to the mausoleum of the famous saint Pir Baba in downtown Buner, there to offer prayers for finding a sweetheart or to sing sad songs telling of separation. We were poor but happy then. God only knows who cast an evil eye on our land and turned it into hell”, said Shaukat Sharar, a local intellectual from Mingawara town, capital of the scenic Swat district in northern Pakistan, a mist clouding his eyes with nostalgia.