The government finally took the decision to act against the miscreants in Swat with all its might. After resorting to negotiations with the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi leader Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the provincial government of NWFP proposed the imposition of Nizam-e-Adl in Swat. The Parliament endorsed it and the historical resolution was to bring peace to the troubled paradise on earth, the erstwhile scenic tourist resort. Despite acting in earnest in an effort to respond to the apparent desire of the people for seeking speedy justice, in continuation of the Nizam-e-Adl, the Dar-ul-Qaza or Qazi courts were also established. Unfortunately, the miscreants were never serious in their desire for peace or speedy justice or Islam or any other system to benefit the people. They had their own agenda. Instead of laying down arms, as stipulated in the peace accord, they swiftly moved to occupy Buner, when asked to vacate, they recruited youngsters from every house per force and spread into other areas, looting, plundering and behaving like marauding hordes of barbarians. They decried democracy, female education and even the constitution of Pakistan. The criminal nature of the miscreants, and the mala-fide and mischievous game plan they had devised was finally construed by the government, it also became clear that certain external forces were at play, who are funding, training and supporting the logistics of the miscreants. How else would they have the sophisticated communication infrastructure, unending supply of funds and the proficiency to match one of the finest armies in the world? Moin Ansari in his Op-Ed Indian RAW funded Swat terrorists: $650 million to destabilise Pakistan quotes a story carried by The Nation: "Three arrested members of a militants' gang especially deputed by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have disclosed that RAW has been funding suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and that the Indian agency has funnelled Rs 680 million through its links with the Afghan secret agency. The gang of three persons have brazenly admitted that they belong to the group of persons who had been deputed to 'destabilise democratic Pakistan' with the sole purpose of 'enforcement of Shariah' in the country. Operators of an intelligence agency, working beyond the call of their duty, came into contact with a source ready for a tip-off against a reward and led to the arrest of Khurram Ishtiaq, Ghulam Mustafa and Shamim. The persons had been working under Qari Hussain, second-in-command to Baitullah Mehsud. All the three had been arrested while they were on the prowl for a target. The militants had been arrested 'red-handed' as they possessed complete suicide kits, including two jackets and 70kg of explosives and detonators. The accused were hardened militants and took a lot of time to break in and make confessions. They revealed that Qari Hussain had been working to help three adjutants Farukh Usman alias Shahjee, Tayyab alias Baba; Ustad, the trainer to destabilise democratic government." The hardest hit are the peace loving people of Swat. Prior to the incursion by the miscreants, Swat had the highest literacy rate for women in the area. Its people were warm-hearted, broadminded and hospitable. Tourism being the primary source of earning, Swatis were an enlightened race. All this changed with the take over of the miscreants. The people became hostage to the terror groups. Their muted sighs of pain and anguish could not rise above the crescendo and din of the terrorists' gunfire. It is now becoming evident through information made available that each household was forced to provide young recruits for joining the miscreants. Many were drugged, doped or demonised into becoming suicide bombers. With the collapse of the law and order, the local population was forced to submit to the demands of the terror group. Even now the local population is being used as human shields, the territory has been mined by the miscreants to prevent them from leaving. The only recourse open to the local population is to flee on foot. This effort is fraught with peril because of the curfew imposed, the aerial bombardment and above all the fear of being caught in the open when curfew breaks are over. The Taliban are loath to let the locals escape to freedom, because they are their bargaining chip. Thus the local population is caught between the hammer of the military action and the anvil of the miscreants. Once they manage to escape, survival is not an assurance. The refugee camps hurriedly set-up to house the "IDPs" or Internally Displaced Persons are bursting at the seams and lack basic amenities. The crops ready to be harvested have been abandoned, the academic session, which had already been disrupted by the miscreants means a loss of many years. Their businesses abandoned, their houses in ruin and family members missing, the IDPs are in dire straits. The human tragedy, which is unfolding before us has many dimensions. Many religious and political parties are being critical of the use of force. This speaks of double standards. It is imperative that the operation be supported wholeheartedly to purge the region of the miscreants. Earlier efforts to eliminate the miscreants did not succeed because there were outcries against the use of force and the security agencies had to be withdrawn without completing the task. This time if the government means business, it should support the armed forces, more importantly, the people have to be wholehearted in championing the cause. The plight of the refugees requires international support. The IDPs must be sheltered, fed, and aided to overcome the trauma of the last few years of suppression, terror and fear. If the IDPs are not supported in their moment of need, they can be exploited by circumstances or the miscreants to turn to terror. The world owes it to them to save them from the hammer and anvil of misery and death. The writer is a defence and political analyst