Indian-held Kashmir and Swat have historically been held, generally, to represent heaven on earth. The former, however, stands forcibly occupied following a fraudulent 'accession' arranged by Nehru in collusion with Mountbatten on the partition of India. While claiming it to be an 'integral' part of India, the latter is obliged to keep over 600,000 troops to maintain the status quo. The major powers have always turned a blind eye to such blatant high-handedness which jars the qualified democracy run by India in its own country, mainly for two reasons. Firstly, India is a big country with a huge market. Lately by benefiting brightly from the outsourcing mantras of US internet industry, it has become a hub of large-scale MNC investments. Secondly, feeling harassed by the emergence of China as the principal challenger, the US neocons have put all their bets on India to contain unpleasant developments in this part of the world. Quite naturally a nuclear deal has been worked out between the US/India to give a new dimension to their relations. The potential of Indian market remains an overbearing consideration with all the industrial bigwigs who vie with each other for realising higher export-targets. Swat has beautiful topography like most hill-stations. Having been a fiefdom of a Nawab, it was well maintained despite the power-paradigm prevailing therein. Since the Wali, the local ruler, was relatively progressive he had set-up educational facilities for his people besides quite an equitable rough-and-ready system of justice. In such an authoritarian arrangement, there was poverty' galore like in the NWFP. However, order prevailed as the rich people, generally, benefited from the system while the poor also had access to some survival strategy within the social milieu. Like Kashmir, it had a rich forest preserve which was, generally, the state property. The hills adorned by massive greenery and helped by the cold weather made it an attraction for visitors. As the valleys were also well-kept, the overall impression was one of a blissful spread of nature with its embalming effect. Kalam boasted of high hills while Madyan, Bahrain, Kabal etc were not far behind. The Swat River also added to the scenic richness. In 1970 the state was taken over by the federal government and made a part of NWFP. Though one-man rule was terminated, the decline that set in has gradually made it ungovernable. Pakistan's peculiar governance problems have grossly undermined the state-society. The people at large are, generally, unhappy as there is no justice compared with the status quo-ante. As Pakistan alternates between a weak democracy and Military rule, the taken over states like Swat have suffered much. In a system dominated, generally, by sharp practices and lack of the supremacy of law, people with questionable credentials appear to dominate the scene. In the process, like the rest of the hill-resorts in the country, the forest wealth appears to have been misappropriated massively by influential imposters. Social evils seem to have replaced traditions and life appears to be very tough. Kashmir caused the first two wars between India and Pakistan which could not undo the original sin committed by the former. While India has billeted a large Military force, Pakistan is also obliged to commit some army for the defence of the de facto border. The Kashmiris, generally, have refused to submit to the Indian diktat despite the initial submission by Sheikh Abdullah. Amid regularly rigged elections conducted by New Delhi through an 'alien' Governor etc, the valley has not seen peaceful existence. The fight for freedom has remained the hallmark of the area in varying degrees. It gained real momentum when the Mujahideen flush with their victory over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan started helping their beleaguered Kashmiri brethren. Of late it is again experiencing a wave of massive unrest which has been ruthlessly suppressed by the forces of occupation. To gain US sympathy, like all occupation-powers, India is rubbing in too much of 'foreign fighters' to tarnish the valiant struggle of the people for freedom. The lame-duck Administration in DC, with a legacy of ill-fated foreign quagmires, desperately clings to the image of building a new relationship with India. Kashmir' latest surge of violence has been caused by the lust for land on the part of extremist Hindus. The Amarnath temple' land was allegedly transferred to a non-Kashmiri entity which provoked the violence as it was an illegal act. Moreover it was feared that this bad precedent would open floodgates of usurpation of Kashmir' land by the Hindus of India. If history is any guide, the division of India was also sparked by the antics of such elements in early 20th century while even the Indian Congress party lacked the character to snub such seditious showmanship. By now more than 30 Kashmiris have been killed by the security forces and many more injured. Yasin Malik, a leader who was staging a hunger-strike in Srinagar, is reported to be missing. Unfortunately some people were shot while they attended the funeral-prayers of Shaikh Abdul Aziz, a veteran Kashmiri leader, shot dead a day earlier by the occupation. Such an offence is going to provoke more hatred allover. An AFP report confirms that about a 100,000 people demonstrated against the status quo on Saturday (Aug 16th) in Pampore. The slogans included "we want freedom", "Indians go home" and "Kashmir is ours". Where are the so-called think-tanks and NGOs of US/ EU who are quick to damn anybody in a jiffy wherein special interests are not served? Swat appears to be sharing the fate of Kashmir due to poor governance. By pampering the religious elements for ensuring supply of 'holy warriors' for the Afghan Jihad, the US/ Zia changed the ground realities in Swat. During the 90s, the TNSM of Maulana Sufi Muhammad kept in the background as the political situation was deteriorating in the province due to petty politics of the time. As Musharraf took power, the prevailing dissatisfaction resulted in people joining the extremists due to desperation. In the aftermath of 9/11, Swat has become a disaster for the people as normalcy appears to be a dream. The dwindling civil administration and debatable army-input has aggravated the crisis. No wonder even people belonging to Swat feel insecure after crossing Mardan on the way up. One can' help exclaiming at the fate of Kashmir/ Swat "How art thou fallen from heaven?" The writer is a former federal secretary