The magnificent Valley of Swat, surrounded by majestic mountains, contains an absolute corn bright in it. The Valley also holds one of the Asia’s largest deposits of emeralds. Similar to Colombian emerald, Swat emerald is well known for its unique green colors (ranging from medium to deep green) and for its distinctive smoothness and transparency. The emerald mine of Swat was first discovered in 1958 - the era of Wali-e-Swat, Prince Miangul Jahanzeb (the princely Swat State) - and became the livelihood of thousands during that time. Later, in 1968, the mine became the property of the Government of Pakistan (following the independence of Pakistan in 1947 when the princely state was acceded to Pakistan). According to an estimate, during the 1980s, the mine of Swat yielded around a quarter of a million carats of emerald, a value close to fifteen million British pounds. According to the Assistant Director of the Mineral Development Department, the mine remained “officially” non-operational between 1998 and 2010. The valley of Swat also remained a battleground against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had full control of Swat by 2007. TTP literally ripped the socio-cultural and historical fabric of Swat. Cultural vandalism was well evident through the destruction of Buddhist archaeological sites. The thriving tourist industry was completely dismantled, and a ruthless destruction of the pine forests, that blanketed the whole Malakand district, began. The famous ‘Green Square’ was redefined as Khoonee Chowk (the Bloody Square), regularly presenting beheaded and mutilated bodies. Indeed, TTP threaded the terror and dread deep into the conduct of daily life of the region once known as ‘The Switzerland of Pakistan’.
When TTP consolidated control in Swat, they as well, or as horribly, tried to tear the emerald mine from its roots; sullied it; poisoned it; and finally chocked it. Massive illegal extraction and trading of the precious stone were carried out. Our research indicates that TTP used the emerald revenue to fuel its kinetic agenda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition, we have revealed that the local gemstone industry has spent a considerable part of its dividends in sponsoring militancy and Talibanisation. During the TTP’s tyranny and unhindered looting of the mine, the Swat emerald was dubbed as ‘the blood emerald’—a tabooed brand name. The mine was so deeply abused and broken by TTP that it never quite recovered from the damage caused by inappropriately employed methods of extraction.