On Sunday (2 August 2009 ) morning, a body, hands bound with rope and shot in the back of the head, lay on the sidewalk of a main road. A note pinned to the shirt and written in Urdu gave the victim’s, Gul Khitab, and said he was from Matta, one of the remaining Taliban strongholds. “Enemy of Swat,” it read.
Now it has become routine for many Swat residents to see unclaimed bodies dumped in agricultural fields, by the roadside or on the banks of Swat River. Like the Taliban before them, the executioners had left handwritten messages with the bodies warning that this would be the fate of militants. In their heyday, the Swat Taliban did exactly the same things, executing, and sometimes beheading their rivals, soldiers and policemen in their custody.
According to details, 22 dead bodies were found on Monday evening and Tuesday. How these people, yet to be recognized, were killed and who were the assassins, continued to be a mystery. During the last couple of months up to 120 dead bodies were found in Swat but no one has accepted the responsibility of killings as yet.
While the security forces have been insisting that a majority of the dead bodies belonged to fleeing terrorists who were killed by the enraged locals, sources said the bodies recovered on Monday and Tuesday were mostly found from the areas where the security forces are conducting operation for the last thee days. This is also giving rise to the speculations of the Swatis about the extra judicial killings in the region.
The commissioner Malakand while reiterating his previous stance that the security forces had nothing to do with the mysterious killings, said he had no knowledge of the fresh killings saying he was away from the headquarters. However, the government is yet to come up with a clear stance in this regard. The commissioner said he had recommended to provincial government to conduct inquiry about these killings.
Witnesses said most of the victims had been shot, some several times. They were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs, and dumped in fields or alleys.
“Previously we were afraid of the Taliban. Now, we’re afraid of the army,” one man told the Associated Press news agency.
Military officials have confirmed that the army has been conducting operations in areas where the bodies have been found.