Monday, March 02, 2009

Struggle over what the deal means in Swat

The latest report by Dawn on the situation in Swat suggests that a lot has yet to be determined in the deal they claim to have made there. They don't agree on what "sharia" law is -- which is of course a much more contested issue than people seem to be admitting when the issue comes up. And the news from other sources that that the Taliban have already violated the cease-fire several times since the deal was made [See my next entry]. RLC

Sufi Muhammad demands launch of Sharia courts soon

Sunday, 01 Mar, 2009 | 03:08 PM PST |

MINGORA: A hard-line cleric sent by Pakistan to talk to the Taliban is demanding the government establish Islamic courts in the troubled Swat Valley by mid-March or risk a wave of protests.
The demand Sunday by Sufi Muhammad threatens to undermine a shaky peace process already facing international criticism.
The provincial government made the pledge to establish Islamic courts to Sufi Muhammad, a pro-Taliban cleric whose son-in-law heads the Swat Taliban. Muhammad said Sunday he was unhappy with the government's pace on fulfilling its promise.
'I'm not seeing any practical steps for the implementation of the peace agreement, except for ministers visiting Swat and uttering words,' the elderly cleric told reporters in the main Swat city of Mingora.
He set a March 15 deadline for the Islamic courts to start running and said all other cases being held in regular courts should be stopped immediately. Muhammad also said that the Taliban and the government should release each other's prisoners by the same date and that both sides should immediately abide by an agreement that includes no public displays of weapons.
He said that if the courts deadline was not met, his followers would stage peaceful protests in Swat and surrounding areas.
Past peace deals with militants, including one in Swat last year, have failed, often giving the extremists time to regroup and rearm.
Officials say their pledge on Islamic law will not include the harsh interpretations adhered to by many Taliban, such as banning girls from getting an education.
However, there also has been no public acknowledgment of any provision in an agreement that would require the Swat militants to give their arms.

1 comment:

Hassan said...

Professor you're absolutely right.

The beautiful Swat Valley, often termed as the Switzerland of Asia, was a popular tourist destination, until the Taliban terrorists emerged there just a couple of years ago. In the good old days, people from cities like Islamabad used to visit Swat on weekends, stayed there in nice motels, enjoyed swimming in the river that flows through the valley or went for hiking in the lush green hills. There was also a skiing resort there. A few years ago, no one could have even imagined that Taliban could emerge there, capture the valley so effortlessly and destroy everything.

It is very unfortunate that our government has surrendered Swat Valley to the terrorists, who don’t hide their intentions of taking over the rest of our country. Swat has become a mini Taliban state, where women are forced to wear burqas, aren't even allowed to go out for Shopping and Schools are being destroyed on a regular basis. Just a couple of days ago, the Chief Taliban Mullah of Swat ordered all Pakistani civil judges out of the valley, which shows that our government virtually exercises no authority in that region now. This is the same Taliban leader who terms democracy an Un-Islamic form of government and advocates establishment of a Taliban-like stone-age state in Pakistan. It is indeed ironic, that our democratically elected government negotiated with, and subsequently surrendered the Swat valley to these militants who’s stated goal is to uproot democracy in Pakistan.This shows the weakened resolve of our government in fighting with these terrorists. Drone attacks on terrorists inside our territory are no wonder, at a time when our own government appears pathetically helpless in combating terrorists on our soil.

Many, here in Pakistan question the government's 'peace' deal with Terrorists in Swat, because this will probably embolden the terrorists to realize their evil goals of taking over settled areas of the country and taking us back to the stone age.

99% Pakistanis are liberal and peace loving Muslims who want democracy to flourish in Pakistan. In fact we, the people of Pakistan have our own way of life and we should never allow the Terrorist Taliban to destroy our vibrant culture and way of life.