82 year old ANP politician from Swat Afzal Khan attacked in his home for the fourth time:
Afzal Khan Lala, it may be recalled, has been attacked four to five times. He survived an ambush in the past when militants fired at his car. His two bodyguards were killed in the attack and he and his nephew, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Nazim for Matta tehsil, were wounded. Even then, he refused to shift to Peshawar for medical treatment.
Instead, he drove back to his village and entrenched himself in his home. Unlike other politicians and Khans, he hasn’t run away from Swat and is refusing to abandon his people. Appeals by relations, friends, party activists and admirers have failed to convince him to move out of Swat due to the ever-present threat to his life.
Members of Afzal Khan Lala’s extended family remain armed all the time to guard his home and also their own houses. His nephews are in the forefront in accepting the challenge from the militants and waiting to fight back. The government has deployed personnel of the security forces to protect the senior ANP politician.
Afzal Khan Lala pointed out that the security forces had become active in carrying out military operations with the change of command in Swat. However, he said the military could not be expected to secure every village and street after having conducted action.
“For this reason, I asked the government eight months ago to arm the people of Swat so that village militias could be set up to defend villages against the militants. The Swatis due to the peculiar situation in our valley during the rule of the Wali of Swat were peaceful and largely unarmed. Now they have been terrorised by the Taliban. They need help to gather courage and fight back,” he argued.