Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACCESS ASIA

South Korea: K-pop girl band encourage plastic surgery

Read more

ENCORE!

Karl Ove Knausgaard: The Master of the literary selfie

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Brazil's meat industry gets grilling from EU

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Attacks on aid workers threaten humanitarian operations in South Sudan

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The Russian protest movement reawakens'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French Guiana: 'How did we get here?'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Protests, Putin & Prosecutions

Read more

THE DEBATE

Do Russians care? Kremlin cracks down after anti-corruption protests (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Do Russians care? Kremlin cracks down after anti-corruption protests (part 2)

Read more

REVISITED

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2017-02-10

Pakistan’s Swat Valley striving to return to its former glory

The Swat Valley, a picturesque region of Pakistan, was briefly controlled by the Taliban before they were driven out by the army in 2009. For nearly a year now, the region locals call the "Pakistani Switzerland" has been opening up to tourists again, but the Islamist militant threat remains present in the valley – and in people’s minds. Our reporters returned to Swat.

Located amidst the lush green mountains of the Hindu Kush, the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan was always a tourist spot for foreigners in search of peace, calm and historical expeditions, but the Taliban’s capture of the region in 2007 and the subsequent military operation in 2009 changed the landscape. It became a no-go area even for Pakistanis as Mullah Fazlullah, who currently heads the Pakistani Taliban, took over.

Mullah Fazlullah escaped the military, and currently lives somewhere in the tribal belt, on the Pakistani-Afghan border. Due to his war with the Pakistani state, more than 2.5 million people were displaced from their homes.

The Pakistan Army continues to control the region, which is dotted with military checkpoints, especially at all of the valley's entry and exit points.

But the terrorist threat still looms.

The Taliban now have a new strategy: targeting and killing the influential people of Swat. Such killings, which are carried out in an organised and meticulous manner, have seen an uptick in the last 24 months – one reason Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Laureate, continues to live in the United Kingdom in self-imposed exile, after she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012.

Despite such fears, a majority of the 2.5 million of the region's displaced people have now returned to their homeland in the hope of rebuilding their lives, but find the military expanding its footprint everywhere. Pakistani forces have multiple bases in the valley, and plan to expand them. They have also launched a housing colony on some of the land that they occupied during the operation or have acquired since. The compensation being offered to the local evictees – some of whom are being forced off their land – is nominal. Many do not want to sell, as such agricultural land is their only livelihood.

However, there is some new hope for one segment of the Swat community: the region's women, who have started to reclaim the positions they lost under the Taliban. For nearly a decade, they were not allowed to leave their homes. Now, many are counting on women to bring order back to the society, as men have failed to do in the past. Some lead women-only jirgas (traditional assembies of leaders according to the teachings of Islam, making decisions by consensus) – the first of their kinds. Others have become lawyers to represent women in the courts – a profession that the women of Swat had never before considered.

>> Also watch our report: "Fighting for women's rights in Swat Valley"

Will the women prevail and make the Swat Valley the "Pakistani Switzerland" people remember it to be? Will the state’s efforts to revive tourism actually bring visitors?
We “revisit” to find out.

By Taha SIDDIQUI , Jasmin LAVOIE , Shahzaib WAHLAH , Aftab AHMED

Archives

2017-03-23 Americas

Ecuador: The rush for oil in Yasuni National Park

Located in eastern Ecuador, the Yasuni Park is a unique ecosystem. Thousands of species of plants and wildlife are concentrated in this part of the Amazon rainforest. But the...

Read more

2017-03-10 Africa

Video: On Saint Helena, Emperor Napoleon is still waiting for his fans

Our reporter has been to the island of Saint-Helena, in the middle of the South Atlantic, where the French emperor Napoleon was exiled by the British in 1815 after Waterloo. Two...

Read more

2017-02-23 Asia-pacific

Hong Kong divided over its future, 20 years after UK handover

On July 1, 1997, after more than a century of British rule, Hong Kong was officially handed back to China and became a Special Administrative Region. Thanks to the principle of...

Read more

2017-01-20 Africa

Video: Threat of economic crisis still looms in Zimbabwe

Some 15 years ago, Zimbabwe was hit by an economic meltdown. White farmers, who owned large farms, had their land expropriated and redistributed. This move had been promised by...

Read more