I feel perturbed how to describe the end of our golden era of a peaceful, progressive and prosperous State. It is as hard as entering from space to gravity zone, without parachute. 28th of July 1969, brought an end to everything that was dear to us. The addicted alcoholic Yahya was prone to address the so-called nation on every 28th.
We listened to this one because it related to our future. The announcement came in these words, “I have decided to merge the States of Dir, Swat and Chitral into West Pakistan.” He also announced the dissolution of One Unit and recreated the four provinces.
It was said that this was done to get majority over East Pakistan. On the behest of Bhutto who knew he could not beat Sheikh Mujeeb onslaught and sliding majority if elections are held, without votes of the common people living in the States. Some people attributed it to General Pirzada who made Yahya to merge the States.
But one thing must be made clear that all those underground organizations who claim the credit of merger, are misguiding the people. They had no part or power to implement their nefarious desires based on hatred of the Ruler of Swat. No “Malki Rorwali”, no Juma’at-i- Islami should take the credit or discredit of the merger. Merger was evident from the day when the Supplementary Instrument of Accession was signed in 1954. As the speech of the usurper General Yahya concluded, we started thinking what was in store for us, for the thousands of thousands of Swat State employees.
In the evening I went towards Saidu Sharif in order to see the reaction of Saidu Wals. There was a large number of people gathered outside the T&T office, opposite Saidu Hospital. They were sending telegrams to Yahya, demanding the withdrawal of his dictatorial orders. The incharge T&T, Amanullah asked me to help him in filling the forms, writing repeatedly the words, ‘We Want Our State’. After an hour or so, my fingers ached and I left the office and returned to my residence, A.B.2.
Next day when I went to the office, I saw some of my colleagues emptying their drawers of personal items. I found a very worn car flag of the State, which was brought for designing the Board of Wadudia Hall. I brought it to my home and is still with my son who kept it as a souvenir.
In the evening, there was a large procession of people going towards Mingora. On their way back, the looted the Salman Bee Form, belonging to a Punjabi named Mehmoodul Hasan Butt. The next day Army moved in. There was a women’s protest march but it ended without any incident.
The State organs continued as routine and Wali Sahib also attended State matters and court work as usual. On 16 August, the new civil setup took over the charge, declaring status quo to be continued.A Colonel was the Sub Martial Administrator, helped by a Major whose name I remember as Maj. Ashraf.
As the Commanders and Naib Salar were absorbed immediately in Provincial Service, the senior most Captain Syed Jan Khan of Shahpur was promoted as Naib Salar till the disposal of the last soldiers and ranks were finalized. My father was also asked to stay till the final case is disposed of.
To Be Continued…