By Mr Rafiullah

MINGORA, October 29: The year 2007 unfolded ordeals to Ms Siraj and her children because life changed in a flash: her husband fell victim to a suicide attack in Swat district and she has been living a miserable life ever since.

Ms Siraj Begum told TNN that her husband Mr Muzzaffar Ali was the only breadwinner of the family.

“He had a shop of grocery near an army checkpost in Nangolai area.  He died in a suicide attack on the checkpoint in 2007,” she said.

She said that after the death of her husband, she had started working at houses to earn livelihood for her children.

“I am confronted with many difficulties. I am saddened when I look at my children. My children need uniforms and shoes and also the food as that is the basic requirement. Whenever they go outside and observe other people, they feel so down and gloomy. I get upset when my children leave home and being a woman I avoid going out and have to ask another child to bring home his sibling,” she said.

Talking to TNN, the paternal grandfather of the children said he had retired from the police service and received a pension of 8000 rupees only that cannot run the domestic expenses, let alone availing other things.

An eight-year-old daughter of Ms Siraj, Ms Rehlat, told the TNN that she was a student of class-III in a state-run school.

She gets upset when she sees other children with their fathers at the school, but she does not even remember the face of her father because he had died when Ms Rehlat was very young.

More than 1,000 women have become widows and approximately 7,000 children orphans amid the poor law and order situation during the last several years of militancy in Swat district when the Taliban used to rule the area.

The Pakistan Army launched a military offensive titled “Operation Rah-e-Haq” against the Taliban in late 2007 to flush out the militants and take control of Swat district of Pakistan.

Swat used to attract numerous local and foreign tourists due to its scenic beauty but the militancy has badly damaged the tourism sector in the area.

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(Translation by Ms Mehwish Ghani, editing by Mr Muhammad Shahid)