ISLAMABAD: The surge in attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swat District has given rise to the fear that the presence of militants and violence is making a comeback after more than a decade.
Residents of Swat returned to the streets against the wave of terrorism this week, triggered by the attack on a school van, killing the driver and injuring two children, the Dawn newspaper reported.
They demanded authorities clamp down on the increased militant activity in the region.
The protest was organised by a regional group Swat Qaumi Jirga, which witnessed the display of placards with slogans seeking the restoration of peace in the valley.
While chanting slogans and holding placards, protestors voiced their grievances as terrorism has seemingly made a return to the region.
In a report titled "Swat: The Valley of Doom", the Al Arabiya Post said, "Swat is strategically located in the Malakand division, forming a core around which the rest of the Malakand districts border with."
"If the militants are able to strengthen themselves in the region, it could affect the neighbouring countries as well," according to the report.
Due to Swat's close proximity to erstwhile tribal agencies and Afghanistan, terrorist threats are always looming on critical infrastructure and government buildings, particularly schools and hospitals, which are a complex security challenge.
Swat has recently witnessed a fresh wave of insurgency due to increased activities of TTP and targeted killings of militants, according to Al Arabiya Post.
"There have been reports of late that militants have resurfaced after 12 years and they are threatening villagers with dire consequences if they denounce them to the authorities," the report said.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's State Minister for Law Shahadat Hussain conceded that terror activities had witnessed a sharp increase.
The highest number of terror incidents in Pakistan this year was recorded in September, said an Islamabad-based think tank pointed to the resumption of attacks by the outlawed TTP.
The number of terror attacks increased in September compared to August this year, the Dawn said in an earlier report citing the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS).
September witnessed 42 militant attacks with an increase of 35 per cent compared to August. The Pakistani think tank also observed an increase of 106 per cent in violence in erstwhile Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).