Swat Motorway – The First Ever Motorway Project By A Provincial Government In Pakistan

Since the PTI led provincial government came into power in 2013 their aim has been to bring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa back to its old glory days. As we all know, prolonged militancy in KP in general and in Swat specifically had taken a toll on this province leaving a battered population and destroyed infrastructure.

Militancy in Swat:

Mullah Fazal Ullah and his brand of Taliban took over Swat in 2007. He was remorseless towards common people, the womenfolk especially that included preventing women’s education, the death penalty for barbers, music shop owners, and thieves, along with an anti Polio-vaccination campaign to prevent the local population from getting vaccinated. They imposed their version of Islamic Sharia to the entire area where violators of law would face public hangings. Qazi courts were established, regular courts abolished and Constitution of Pakistan declared un-Islamic.

To counter the above, first military operation conducted by Pakistan Army against the Taliban militants started in 2007 which consolidated Swat District. Second offensive by our Army against Taliban took place in May 2009. Majority of families in Swat had to be evacuated and sent to safe areas. Street battles between Pakistan Army Jawans & militants took place with heavy casualties acquired by Taliban. Our army jawans recaptured the area & pushed out the militants from this region.

It took many precious lives of our Army Jawans, valiance of security personnel and years to bring about peace in that region to begin anew, although many new projects were started by PTI led provincial government of KP from 2013 some are in the pipeline, some are surfacing towards completion. One such culmination is the Swat motorway.

Swat Motorway:

Started on the 25th August 2016 by CM Pervez Khattak, Swat motorway becomes a milestone for KP Government. It is the first motorway constructed by a provincial govt with 81 km long stretching from M1 to Chakdara. This passage goes through two km of Nowshera, 40km through Mardan, 18km through Swabi & 21km through Malakand. A three hour travel time is reduced to 45 minutes by this motorway.

On Monday 21st May 2018 the provincial government headed by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak along with FWO held an inaugural ceremony. It has taken one year and nine months to complete plus start operations from Karnal Sher Khan interchange on Islamabad-Peshawar motorway to Katlang which is a 14-kilometre long stretch. Traffic flow has started. The entire stretch could not be opened due to the fact that toll plazas and other sections are still under construction. The rest of the portion will be open for traffic by 30th June. A total of fifty thousand trees will be planted on this entire motorway. No toll fare will be charged to commuters until completion of the road till Katlang Interchange.

Malakand is known to have fertile land with precious fruit farms & orchards which saw total devastation during the Militancy days. Farmers from Malakand witnessed huge losses when their fruits would rot due to militancy and long curfews. After peace came to this region, provincial government brought new initiatives to KP. Thankfully with the construction of this motorway, delicious fruits like plum, apricot, peaches, apple and walnut will reach and sell in other parts of Pakistan.

Since PTI came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa their projects have been implemented. This motorway has not only connected the far-flung areas to other regions of Pakistan with shortened travel time but has also paved way to increase tourism, flourish the local businesses, create jobs, bring new opportunities to the people of these areas.

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