Neelam Chattan – The Brave Daughter of Swat Valley

By Amina Mohsin (

Alexander the Great, invaded Swat in 327 BC and fought a tough battle of Ora and Bazira. The brave people of Swat offered tough resistance and Alexander had to come on peace terms. He uttered a historical statement for the people of Swat:

“Oh! My mother, you have given birth to one Alexander. But here, one finds

Alexander behind every rock.”

The soil of Swat valley raised many brave sons and daughters who wrote their incredible stories of bravery which will be remembered forever.

Last week, I received an email from a brave daughter of Swat valley, Neelam Chattan, who is inspired by the Peace Campaigns of Peaceful Pakistan. Neelam is promoting peace and love among those people who were physically and psychologically affected by terrorism. In 2009, she witnessed the horrible massacre of innocent children and people by Taliban…….Taliban also destroyed schools, hospitals and mosques.

‘‘It was enough to turn me into a patient of depression but my parents helped me regain my composure and I made it my mission to raise my voice against terrorism. However, fate hit me with another blow when my father died in 2011. This sent me back into a state of depression and anger. I was hospitalized for several months…..The memory of my father, his confidence and his support helped me get back on my feet and resume my fight against this evil.’’ She was talking to me on phone and I was deeply inspired by her courage. These tragedies did not shake her Faith in Peace, her Faith in Education, her Faith in God.


‘IQRA’ was the first message of Islam and Neelam believes that Education is very important to achieve Peace. Neelam launched an NGO ‘Peace for New Generation’ four years ago and received many awards including European Union – Paiman Trust Gold Award in recognition of her efforts for Peace.

She and her dedicated team visit various schools in Swat and spread the message of Peace: Respect the Pen, Not the Gun. They engage children in various sports and art activities, arrange awareness sessions with mothers, and organize conflict resolution and anti-terrorism workshops in various schools to promote education and peace.


She narrated an incident of a 10 year old child, Ahad who drew the picture of gun. When she asked the reason for drawing gun, Ahad said that his father was killed in a suicide blast. She was narrating the incident on phone and the pain and grief was evident in her uneven breaths.


She appreciated the role of Pakistan Government and Pakistan Army in restoring Peace in Swat. More than 550 soldiers sacrificed their lives in operation Rah-e-Raast while 1500 were injured, but these brave soldiers were successful in restoring Peace. The sacrifices and firm commitment of the Pakistan Army and brave people of Swat have led to elimination of the ugly face of terrorism from the valley.

‘‘I am only 22 years old and I am willing to spend my whole life doing what I am doing now. I am inspired by my mother and father, the heroes of my life and will make sure that I make them and my country proud’’….. She said.

Centuries ago, Alexander was inspired by the brave people of Swat valley…..Neelam Chattan is a brave daughter of Swat valley and when I appreciated her role in promoting peace, she said: ‘Each of us has a valuable part to play in this world and my role has just begun.’

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