Pakistan agrees to sharia law to end Swat fighting

February 16, 2009

Pakistan has agreed to introduce sharia law in the Swat valley and neighbouring areas of the north-west in a peace deal with Taliban militants. Religious conservatives in Swat have long fought for sharia to replace Pakistan’s secular laws, which came into force after the former princely state was absorbed into the Pakistani federation in 1969. The government apparently hopes that by signing a peace deal in Swat it can drive a wedge between conservative hardliners and Islamist militants whose influence has been spreading from the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan into Pakistan proper.

Critics are already saying the deal will encourage Taliban militants fighting elsewhere in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and could threaten the integrity of the country itself. Britain’s Guardian newspaper quotes Khadim Hussain of the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy, a think-tank in Islamabad, as calling the peace deal a surrender to the Taliban. It also quotes Javed Iqbal, a retired judge, as saying, ”It means that there is not one law in the country. It will disintegrate this way. If you concede to this, you will go on conceding.”

News of the peace deal followed an acknowledgement by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari that the Taliban had “a presence in huge amounts of land” in Pakistan and were trying to take over the country. In an interview with CBS, he said Pakistan was fighting to survive.

The militants in Swat had been pushing for the enforcement of a hardline version of Islamic law. They had already banned female education, outlawed music and dancing, and carried out summary executions.

According to Pakistan’s Daily Times the peace deal envisages a more moderate interpretation of sharia, seen by many of the people in Swat as more efficient than the country’s bureaucratic secular judiciary, and also includes a commitment to reopen girls’ schools. But it questions whether this moderate interpretation will survive. 

“The people of Swat want quick justice, the kind enforced by the Wali of Swat, as if in a city-state utopia, but they are bound to get more than they have bargained for by rejecting the dilatory system obtaining in the rest of Pakistan,” it says. “They will get the “munkir” (forbidden) part of the sharia dealing with forbidden acts plus the “maruf” (approved) part dealing with acts of piety. The “praiseworthy” acts of piety such as the saying of the nimaz five times a day in the mosque will be greatly approved, but those who don’t observe the ritual will suffer physical and financial pain. And the list of the “maruf” stretches endlessly, which means that you can be thrashed for a number of things you thought were not “penal”. It is probable that the scared people of Swat simply don’t know what they are in for.”

So will this peace deal help take the steam out of the Taliban insurgency, using time-honoured tactics of divide and rule, and give the government some breathing space for bigger battles ahead? Or is it the beginning of a slide into the Talibanisation of Pakistan?

(Reuters file photos of people fleeing fighting in the Swat valley)

75 comments

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As I noted in a previous blog:I have read from MANY Pakistani blogs that this is what the people of Swat wanted. So, if they want Sharia Law (mild, hot, very hot, extra hot, VOLCANIC), let them have it:If the Pakistani legal system isn’t preferable to Islamic law that tells these Taliban to burn down girl’s schools, behead people, shoot up local dancers and hanging dissenters.Looks like the lunatics have taken over the asylum.All I have to say to all Pakistanis is:“May you live in interesting times.” (an old Chinese saying).

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

So they finally were able to press the RESET button and travel back in time. Great job morons.

Posted by Alec | Report as abusive

Another surrender of a weak govt. or Pakistan supporting terrorism once again.This step indicates that in Pakistan anyone can pick weapons and get their demands fulfilled no matter how idiotic they mat be. Next time terrorists will want access of Nukes beacause it is a “ISLAMIC BOMB” and usage on “Kafirs”(Non muslims) is “Jayaz” (Validated) in “Shariya” and govt will surrender it.World is getting sick of Pakistan’s attitude towards extremism.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

–Mr. Jinnah’s Pakistan is getting replaced with Sunnah….

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive

Looks like someone put a lighted matchstick in a dynamite box. It’s going to blow up the neighbor as well! Everyone brace for the implosion!!!

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

What is worrying is that Swat is less than 200km from Islamabad. I am supposing that people know the phrase: if you give someone and inch, they will take a mile.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Now US, IMF should double the $$$ aid to Pakistan for fighting the militants, for moving towards moderation and for making good use of US $$$s. Pakistan always lived this double-life and has become a master of it in last 60 years. What kind of war-on-terror is Pakistan fighting?

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Pak pundits will blame it on America, Afghanistan, India, iran, Europe, Russia did I miss any here. ooops..Israel. Looks like list is complete, now.

As an Indian, at this point, I would like to blow my own trumpet and indicate the huge chasm of difference between India and Pakistan:Pakistan has Taliban in Swat.India has Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars.I felt the need to mention this because the ceremony is on 22nd February. Even though I do not believe Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture, it is still an achievement to use as a stepping stone.”Please, Pakistan, could you produce something tangible that the world can love and make you proud!”

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

“Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari that the Taliban had “a presence in huge amounts of land” in Pakistan and were trying to take over the country.”—Cry Wolf…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Unless this meak surrender termed as “peace deal” is meant somehow to give breathing space to the SWAT residents while preparing for an all out offensive against Taliban, this will spread. Taliban will think: “Oh, that was easy. let us carry on.” Why not? If I were in other non-SWAT parts of Pakistan, I will take this deal as an invitation to Taliban to other parts as well.Pakistanis are best placed to comment since the noose is aroud their necks or perhaps they do not feel that way?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Absolute surrender.No matter what version of Sharia is imposed. It goes against the basic tenets of human dignity and equalityhttp://www.kbb.com/KBB/UsedCars/ Photos/1998_Mercedes-Benz_E-Class_6784_P rivate%20Party_Excellent.aspx?SelectionH istory=6784|30039|28269|0|0|257848|true| 257850|true|257853|true|550355|true|2578 40|true&Mileage=116000I dont know who is dividing whom? Is Pak govt dividing fundamentalist and taliban or the taliban dividing paki moderates and paki fundamentsists.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

“It might not mean the end of fear but it will mean the end of violence here.”The above is a quote from the Swat diary on the BBC site. Seems as if the Swat residents are has happy to live in fear.This reminds me of the song by Jimmy Cliff, The harder they come the harder they fall. There is one line in it:I’d rather be a free man in my graveThan living as a puppet or a slave

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

I think Pakistan likes surrender. Pakistan might tell Taliban to concentrate more on infidels. Pakistan is a thief in cop’s network. Soon the world may have terrorists using nukes and Pak leaders will tell the whole world that “Mujaheedens” made it their own and they are very intelligent.

Posted by Murugan | Report as abusive

My worst fears came true. ISI released a dozen or more Taliban commanders from jail to free the captive Chinese Engineer. And Mr Zardari will take the Chinese along with him to China on his coming visit and hand deliver him to Chinese president as a gift from Pakistan. So all this to please Chinese and beg more aid!!! Why are the Polish (already killed), American (UN envoy) or Iranian diplomat not saved this way? Who in ISI decides who is to be freed and who is to be beheaded? Can Pakistan ever prosecute and jail any Taliban?

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Everyone brace for the implosion!!! Seems like someone put a lighted matchstick in a dynamite box. It’s going to blow up the neighbor as well!

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

My heartiest congratulations to the Pakis.61yrs after independence u finally got islamic law to go along with Islam-abad.congratulations!!!

Posted by shantanu chatterjee | Report as abusive

NATO in Pakistan. After all Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally. Seems like war-on-terror will start from SWAT. This is what President Karzai has been shouting for last 6 years.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

A noted Pakistan journalist Ahmed Rashid wrote a book flight of Pakistan “Descent Into Chaos”. Seems like he picked the right title. I admire his vision. Did he suggest any solution?

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Before you open champagne bottles!!!Pakistan imminient failiure is not a gossip news that you read through pages of a newspaper or flip through the channels. This will effect us no matter where in this world you live in, specially so for those of us are unfortunate enough to be Pakistans neighbours.We have been asking the Pakistanis to stop living in denial now its our turn to wake up to the reality these recent events have created.I hope the world leaders work on this problem and it comes to an end.

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

– Episode IISharia will soon come to Islamabad, Pakistan ‘Fights for Survival’ again.@Amy,There is also a good book “The Inheritance by David E. Sanger” have a read.

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive

I think this has even stunned Ali, Umair and co. They are absent on this blog. Preparing to escape from Pak?

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Pakistan was established in order to be a Muslim country in the first place. Why has it taken so long for Sharia law to be established? It’s the secularist that have “taken over the country”, the Muslims are just trying to win it back.And this article has many factual inaccuracies that are just propaganda repeated by pro-government news outlets. The temporary ban on girls schools was in protest at government run schools, not any interpretation of Sharia law, and it has already been partially lifted by Maulana Fazlullah. And this sentence : ” the list of the “maruf” stretches endlessly, which means that you can be thrashed for a number of things you thought were not “penal”” is shameless fear-mongering. There is a finite number of waajibaat (compulsory) things that must be obeyed in public, and every muslim knows those things, even non-practicing muslims, if they’ve ever attended a friday sermon.

Posted by meelash | Report as abusive

@So they finally were able to press the RESET button and travel back in time. Great job morons.- Posted by Alec–That’s right. I have posted on other blogs before, reposting due to its relevance here that in this area of PAK lived a man named Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (a pasthun aka Frontier Gandhi, a disciple of Gandhi). He was a “Nonviolent Soldier of Islam”–the Frontier Gandhi who opened schools and brought women out of their homes to become a part of society. He had 100,000 muslims lay down their arms and the army was called “khudai khimatgars” (“servants of god”), the 1st armless army. India awarded him the highest civil award Bharat Ratan (1st time to a non-Indian). I will not get into the details that he was against partition, disliked the idea of going to Pakistan, again imprisoned by Pak, where he was tortured in his own words.There is a documentary, titled “The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, a Torch for Peace”http://articles.latimes.com/2008/o ct/19/entertainment/ca-pakidoc19

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Myra asked: “So will this peace deal help take the steam out of the Taliban insurgency, using time-honored tactics of divide and rule, and give the government some breathing space for bigger battles ahead?”May be yes or may be not! Let’s not forget, Pakistan has always meted out different treatment for different terrorist groups. For Pakistan, there are good terrorists – the ones who attack their neighbors – and bad terrorists – the ones who attack Pakistan. The former were nurtured and the latter were bombed. For me, the more subtle questions are,a)Does the peace deal imply that the Taliban in Swat are now seen as good terrorists in the eyes of Pakistani state? (Some lunatics to deal with at a later date)b)Or, is the peace deal a tactic meant to signal Washington for more military aid and supplies? (The timing cannot be better)Myra asked: “Or is it the beginning of a slide into the Talibanisation of Pakistan?”Yes! What more developments do we need to signal a slide in to Talibanisation? Many territories within Pakistan are already lost to the Taliban. In the cities like Karachi, the Pashtun vs. non-Pashtun riots and cleansing are already on.These are also cautionary signals to Pakistan’s neighbors who unfortunately may be affected by these developments.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Meelash, you wrote:”This article has many factual inaccuracies that are just propaganda repeated by pro-government news outlets. The temporary ban on girls schools was in protest at government run schools, not any interpretation of Sharia law, and it has already been partially lifted by Maulana Fazlullah.”Can you explain further? If there are inaccuracies, they deserve to be addressed.Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

I hope the type of Sharia law is moderate. I heard Ontario, Canada was once considering allowing Sharia law for the Muslim people and secular law for others in Ontario, Canada. There would have been a two prong approach.The Muslim leaders advocating this for Ontario were saying Sharia law is a fair law for all people, both men and women.Question: Is this possible and can we hope it will be this way in Pakistan?

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

I have read all the blogs for this article, but I am saddened to see that there are no entries from the usual suspects. Why has no one from Pakistan or of Pakistani origin posted a message. It reminds me of a debate on TV for Sharia Law in the UK. When anyone challenges a Muslim on Sharia law, they just remain quiet, say nothing in the hope that it will go away.These Taliban are not going to leave. If they got what they wanted like this, then they are are going to want more and more.The releasing of the Chinese engineer and his personal return home by Zardari is just another BIG arse kiss to Hu Jintao. The Taliban released him in return for getting what they want, Swat and Sharia.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Myra,Here is link to an interesting short video, titled: “War in Pakistan”. It’s worth a watch.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVk Jrv1S2GM

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

This is very bad news for Pakistan. The civilian govt which was supposed to fight terrorism better has instead surrendered to militants.However since all other peace agreements failed before than this one will as well. The Taliban simply do not change their ways and continue their violence.For the Indians on this board: Pakistan was indeed founded as a Muslim country, doesn’t mean Pakistan is meant to be a Mullah Raj.

@bulletfishSlumdog Millionare is a British film, written and produced by folks in the UK. India just happens to be the main topic of the film.The Indians on this board continue to be obsessed with Pakistan.

Nikhil,Thanks for the youtube link. The CBS presentation is interesting but undermined by the stereotypical footage of Wagah and women in burqas. (Why do we have to have Wagah repeated every time a foreign TV channel discusses India and Pakistan?)All,If we have lost the Pakistani voices from the discussion on this blog, then that is a great shame. Perhaps they just got shouted down? Maybe try for more engagement next time?Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

This reason Pakistani posters may have stopped coming is that there is little discussion of the blog entry issue, and more discussion of the insecurities, hatreds and taunts of foreigners, mostly Indians.Why would a Pakistani waste his time on such blogs ? Better to go to Pakistani forums and just discuss the issue at hand.

@Slumdog Millionare is a British film, written and produced by folks in the UK. India just happens to be the main topic of the film.The Indians on this board continue to be obsessed with Pakistan.- Posted by Aamir AliAamir: I agree with your view. Indian contribution is the subject, the slums, over which no one should be proud of.@For the Indians on this board: Pakistan was indeed founded as a Muslim country, doesn’t mean Pakistan is meant to be a Mullah Raj.–One can only hope that you are right about non-mullah Raj. But hope is no policy unless there is one. At the risk of being labeled as “obessessed with pak”, it is the Pak-driven terrorism biting Pakistan itself in combination with increase in radicalism that has precipitated the mess.In my view, to establish permanent peace, Taliban has to go. Do you see any real attempt by Pak to eradicate Taliban. Is military offensive impossible, since it was not tried or do you feel that Pak wants to save Taliban, for later use. Or is it the inablity/infeasibility of eradicating Taliban composed of such a large # of harended fighters. In any case, stability in Pak is essential for India’s interests. good luck!

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Aamir Ali,There is an evident frustration, not obsession, with Pakistan. With due respect Aamir, Pakistanis so far have stayed away from the discussion because, I guess, there is nothing sensible to write for them. You are right, they may find more comfort on Pakistani blogs while mulling over wild conspiracy theories.Myra,You asked, “why stereotypical footage of Wagah and women in burqas in the video?”In the minds of many western viewers, Wagah has become a point of reference for Indo-Pak relations. Women in burqas are often refered to depict Islamic societies. Although, I’m aware they are stereotypes however, over time, they have become regular features in western documentaries and news coverages.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

If Mr Zaradari likes Sharia Law so much, is he going to bring his son/daughters from UK/Dubai and send them to a Sharia school in SWAT? If he doesn’t like the idea, how can he do that to millions of people in SWAT?

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Pakistanis go silent whenever the going is not good. I have seen that during cricket matches between India and Pakistan. If the going is great, Pakistani crowd and media personnel will be very exuberant. As soon as the opposition team gains advantage, their passion will prevent them from appreciating it and they’d go silent or leave the stadium. Right now, their political situation has become similar to this. They did look exuberant when India suffered from the Mumbai attacks and the Indian government was made to run around like clowns by the Pakistani establishment. Until the US pressured them into admitting that it was indeed a Pakistani plot, their words and expressions did show a lot of glee about the travails of India. Now the real villain, the Taliban has made their government kneel to them. This is just the beginning. From here on, the monster will begin to eat the country slowly. And that will be painful. This is not a wish. But Indians do not celebrate this. Pakistan is not going to go down while India is gaining. They will make the Mumbai attacks look like a kid game with more strikes to bring down the Indians. They will take their frustrations out by trying to engage India. So brace yourselves for more “friendly” fires from the neighboring nation as the Taliban begins to swallow them. But once they have been consumed, pray that they start fighting each other and turn themselves into another post-Soviet Afghanistan. Otherwise, a Pakistan fully under the control of the Taliban is the worst nightmare for India and the world. If Taliban succeeds in taking over all of Pakistan, it will be the starting point of WW III. And it is going happen very soon. America is broke. If their stimulus packages dissolve away, they’d appear weak to the others waiting to take over the world. And they will try to do something drastic in Afghanistan as they will run out of money to run the war on terrorism. China has been waiting for a situation like this to stamp its super power status. I’d expect the Chinese to take Taiwan. Interesting events are waiting to happen. By the end of 2012 it will all be over. It will be a very different world after that. I am not prophesying. It is common sense.

Myra,It seems as though Pakistan just back stabbed the World. They have taken money, not doing the difficult task of eradicating the Taliban as they should and now this nuclear armed country just surrendered to a bunch of backwards terrorists.We cannot trust Pakistan anymore. Pakistan has just elevated itself into an immediate Global Security Threat. The world must denuclearize this failing region. The mountains of denials by the government are now more true and clear than ever that Pakistan is on the verge of collapse.It is best that UN member countries step in and control its disintegration. In fact it is the UN’s moral duty to ensure Pakistan is denuclearized and disintegrated in a controlled manner for the security of the world.We must be proactive and not wait.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Myra,This article must be having far more readers than it appears from # of posted comments. would the readers jump in only to referee the slang match or can they contribute by providing a fresher perspective, and that can come especially from Pakistani bloggers.The questions such as:Why their is not an all out military offensive?, Why surrender (sugar coated as peace deal)?What are the implication of Sharia to the common man, Is this Sharia laW Wanted by common man there or just some Religious conservatives only if latter is true, hoW large is their #?Would it be effectively Taliban rule With provincial govt just on the paper?Would girls be able to go to school and Women in bazaar? Is Pak Army/ISI (or hardcore elements inside) monkeying around With Taliban?Would Taliban spread in rest of pakistan—hoW much is the fear or confidence in people, say in PeshaWar or Islamabad?Any chance Taliban Will take over Pakistan?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Since this particular post is quieter than most allow me to say that I love the comments in this blog :-). They read like a transcripts from the Jerry Springer show. Myra’s posts are good and insightful but its the mudslinging that keeps bringing me back (Yes my tastes are crass that way :-P). And from the fact that Myra doesn’t come down on it like a ton of bricks to stop it gives me the feeling that she doesn’t mind it either. I sometimes get the feeling that this is all staged for the entertainment value. Don’t the rest of you ever find it hilarious how vehemently some posters hate others?!! And on such flimsy pretexts too! Does anyone else feel this way?

Posted by Auran | Report as abusive

The West, particularly the USA, which raised a monster to defeat the USSR and then later abandoned Pakistan and Afghanistan to deal with that monster, namely, the Taliban, are now reaping the fruit of it. What is more disturbing is the fact that the American’s still do not recognise the full extent of the distruction that is coming to this region.Instead of helping Pakistan with out any prejudice and giving all kinds of financial, technical and military help, it is again playing a typical diplomatic game just to look after its own artificial and short term interests-most of the times based on deceiving its own people (countries which want to get involved in international politics should have strong moral principles as well).History has proved that the Americans have never been good at this game. Being a super power does not help America either. Force and distruction is the only thing they know. Just like the Greeks,Romans and Changez Khan etc.This region needs help to get rid of this monster but peoples’ wishes and sovereingty has to be respected as well.

Posted by Sadiq | Report as abusive

It makes me feel really disgusted that this so-called peace deal has happened. Like so many others before it I suppose the conditions for this deal will be that those people murdered will not receive any form of justice. The murderers will be free to walk around as they please. I used to read so much about this SUPERIOR PAK ARMY with the glories of 1965 and Kargil. The SUPREME Shaheens (PAF). Gutless wonders with no GRIT!!! Reminds me of the 1971 surrender of approx 90,000 Pak soldiers in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) to the Indian forces.What exactly will the Taliban do for income? Is the Pakistan govt going to place them on their civil service pay roll?Zardari has gone to Hu Jintao to ask for aid because he knows the USA are not going to provide it after this surrender.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Sadiq,For how long do you expect the USA (and other Western countries) to help you? Why should the USA keep providing Pakistan with military hardware? Its as if Pakistan wants to make life difficult for itself and others then ask for aid.Every country looks out for its own interests. That is what the leaders of these countries are voted in for. They are not there to give unconditional aid, money, arms to other countries without expecting anything in return.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

the only option that is feasible is to divide PAKISTAN.

Posted by ghanashyam | Report as abusive

Where are Ali Umair Qasim and other pakis ??

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

@Auran,Auran, people need to have a voice on issues. The mudslingers are not quite irrelevant, but still serve a purpose to show the diverse range of thoughts and actions of citizens on opposing sides to an issue. In this case, it exposes the weak moral and weak rational center that Pakistani;s have and what they really believe and think.I commend Myra for doing the difficult task of facilitating disenting points of view, especially whrn those few may seem not worthy to have a forum.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Nikhil:I would say it is an obsession/hatred of Pakistan that attracts Indians on these pages, where they rail against anything Pakistani and anything Islamic. If it was just frustration, you would see some sensible comments.This sharia deal and stoppage of military operation is being done by the current democratically elected government. They always used to condemn Musharraf for using military force, and advocated “negotiations and peace”. They are now putting their campaign promises into policy, regardless of whether such attempts succeeded or failed in the past.

The West, particularly the USA, which raised a monster to defeat the USSR and then later abandoned Pakistan and Afghanistan to deal with that monster, namely, the Taliban, are now reaping the fruit of it. What is more disturbing is the fact that the Sadiq writes: “American’s still do not recognise the full extent of the distruction that is coming to this region.Instead of helping Pakistan with out any prejudice and giving all kinds of financial, technical and military help, it is again playing a typical diplomatic game just to look after its own artificial and short term interests-most of the times based on deceiving its own people (countries which want to get involved in international politics should have strong moral principles as well).History has proved that the Americans have never been good at this game. Being a super power does not help America either. Force and distruction is the only thing they know. Just like the Greeks,Romans and Changez Khan etc.This region needs help to get rid of this monster but peoples’ wishes and sovereingty has to be respected as well.”You are making Pakistan like a thumb suckling little baby. Americans have no interest in the region. They only showed interest when their arch enemy got involved in the region, in order to settle a score. Americans are one of the most ignorant people on this planet. Most have no idea what goes on outside their borders and would like to be left alone. They have their NBA, NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, stock market, fishing, hunting, camping needs met without having to look outside. And they do not care if the outside world exists. Watch their world news on TV and you will get the idea.Pakistani leaders never spent the time setting up the fundamental infrastructure of primary and secondary education, agriculture, power, transportation, health care areas. Their population has gone unchecked. Democracy never took root.The mistake Pakistani leaders made was trying to play a regional super power. Their focus and attention was entirely on it all the time. Superiority complex drove them to build up military and defense related infrastructure and nothing else. And the military got impatient with the slowness of a democratic institution. Iran is more of a theocratic state than Pakistan and yet their military has never taken over their government.Pakistan’s agenda became too India-centric and they focussed on unnecessary activities instead of paying attention to national development. Their obsession with Kashmir is one such example.Every major decision made by the Pakistani leadership is India-centric. Every international alliance the country has made is based on what India would do.Honestly speaking, Pakistan does figure in Indian policies, but it is never a 100%.When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan was under a military dictator and a military general will only think in terms of military expansion for the future. So he went about making long term plans in the sub-continent and allied with the US. The CIA helped turn the ISI into a globally fearful organization like the Mossad or the KGB. The Pak leaders calculated that the super powers would soon leave the are after their job is done and then Pakistan can turn around and bleed India internally.In 1989 the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan. In 1989, the Kashmir insurgency began with an intensity never heard before. The Indian security forces now encountered an enemy that had been war hardened and trained in the Afghan conflict. These were not Kashmiris. They were the Mujahideen from the Pashtun area, who are tough fighters and know nothing else. Kashmir has never been the same ever since.Kindly do not delude yourself into thinking that the Pakistani establishment is innocent. They are 90% responsible for the state of your country today. I’d agree that the American contribution to the chaos is about 10%.Please look in the mirror before you look out of the window.

If we trust Zardari for his words recently when he declared Taliban killed his wife, he must be really hating Taliban..On the assumption that Zardari would like to root out Taliban for the above reason this is a sensible move to curtail Taliban and to win the local tribal support.- Making truce with Taliban will slow down their new terrorist recruits.- Stopping fight will save thousands of innocent lives who will be killed in cross fire- Taliban is most likely to introduce beheading, chopping hands, hanging in public, women subbotage etc which will loose public support over time.- People in tribal areas will get a chance to concentrate on development, education and will start to drift towards moderates.- pakistani govt will get a peacefull time to look towards other areas for development.- Zardari could be facing a huge resistance from Army to fight against Talibans.- So zardari with this move could buy some peacefull time to weaken Taliban and strengthen army.Compared to all the +ve points above for pakistan the move brings only one -ve point that strikes me- Pakistan would live under the fear of attacks from US/Nato or fear of isloation.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

This agreement can be best understood by using the meaning of a Sanskrit phrase viz ‘Vinashkale Viprit Budhhi’. It roughly means – When the time of self-destruction nears, one’s guiding sense takes a negative u turn & leads him towards that.Pakistan is intentionally leading itself towards total destruction.On that note, a salute to great ULTRASECULAR leaders of India like Gandhi & Nehru who accepted the devision of India & left a carcinogenic legacy called Pakistan.

Posted by Milind | Report as abusive

If we trust Zardari for his words recently when he declared Taliban killed his wife, he must be really hating Taliban..On the assumption that Zardari would like to root out Taliban for the above reason this is a sensible move to curtail Taliban and to win the local tribal support……………”- Posted by AnithaAnitha: This post is mostly based upon “Hope”, which is not a policy. I think SWAT people will get used to Taliban’s ways, giving Pakistan no chance to take over SWAT. What I hear is that there already are non-Taliban religious conservatives in SWAT; so that adds to the problem. Even now, if SWAT is 90% anti-Taliban, what is the use to Pakistan. Taliban does not rule by people’s sympathy, they rule by sword. Eventually Pakistan will have to deal with Taliban. Current peace-deal is OK if there is a serious plan for an offensive in short-term. Unfortunately, it can never come without loss of civilians.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev, You could be right..another -ve point which i now see is Talibans intention to take over more areas in pakistan..this move will just make that so simple..Taliban may stop violence in Swat and do more in Islamabad !!

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

Rajeev, You could be right..another -ve point which i now see is Talibans intention to take over more areas in pakistan..this move will just make that so simple..Taliban may stop violence in Swat and do more in Islamabad !!- Posted by AnithaAnitha:SWAT terrain might be helping them a lot too. I am not sure how the terrain is for further spread of Taliban. Flatter terrain might make Taliban job tough but they are not the ones to leave it to speculation but they will try and Pak Army will not let that happen (hopefully!). Flat terrian in Punjab was one of the reason for success against Sikh militancy.Not related but wrt political resolve–Sikh militancy connection (from other article) as you feel that 1. military 2, huge public support (anti-militant) played key roles in success against Sikh militancy. But Political resolve was essential, lack of which acc to KPS Gill (http://www.satp.org) nearly undid the whole operation blue star success and they sneaked in Golden temple again (2 more small operations to get rid of them…..). Miminmal use of army (except operation blue star…) but local police/intelligence/SWAT teams/political resolve were the factors in sucess here.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

it is the known fact that the reason for this is purely US. US considers north korea, libya, iran etc as countries on watch list. it has not considered pak so. no sanctions and nothing againt pak. instead it helped pak though it was also a rougue country since inception. It is the US selfishness because of this the world is going to suffer with nuclearised talibanistan

Posted by venkat | Report as abusive

Gandhi and Congress were the ones who introduced religion into politics. They also never wanted independence, they wanted “Swaraj”, self-rule.Coming back to Pakistan, the Swat matter is internal for Pakistan and no business of Indians who their own Maoist, Naxal and other insurgencies to worry about.

Dear All,First of all we don’t need any certificate from outsiders to deal with our internal problems.I am 100% sure that those who criticized the deal and most of our Indian friends having rubbish comments basically has no idea that what is written on the deal.I am not here to convince you that if you peoples believe OR not but I am writing because you have no idea and you are moving from the discussion.1. This deal is on the sake of peace in the Vally and onthe interest of the peoples living there.2. If one attack on mumbai effects the whole india andeveryone suffers the same pain like mumbai residentsthen imagine those who lived there whole life on thesawat Vally and facing same situation everyday, lostthere loving ones, migrated from there homes to otherparts of the country and more than 1 million peoplesmoved from sawat vally.3. The details of the deal are to impose the IslamicJudical System on that area because according to theIslamic judical system there is only one sharia courtto act, not like you have three courts “local court,high courts and supreme courts” and the cases runmore than 5 to 10 for justice.4. I will give one example to my indian friends thatmaybe you don’t know but there is one rule in indianoccupied Kashmir that Indian nationalist are notallowed to buy any property on Indian occupiedKashmir other than those having permanent address ofoccupied Kashmir. now this is against yourconstitution but looking at the situation you havedifferent laws there.5. If peoples living on the sawat vally are happy withthe deal and peoples of Pakistan are not opposing thedeal then who the hell you are.

Posted by Amjad | Report as abusive

Coming back to Pakistan, the Swat matter is internal for Pakistan and no business of Indians who their own Maoist, Naxal and other insurgencies to worry about.- Posted by Aamir AliAamir, when there is fire in the neighbour’s house, we better watchout and give suggestions to extinguish it too.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Aamir Ali writes: “Gandhi and Congress were the ones who introduced religion into politics. They also never wanted independence, they wanted “Swaraj”, self-rule.”?????Is this kind of nonsense that is being taught inside Pakistan? Gandhi and Nehru wanted independence from the British. The meaning of “swaraj” has nothing to do with religion. Gandhi fasted for Muslims when the riots broke out during partition. Nehru formed a secular democracy against the odds.If I remember correctly, there was a guy named Jinnah who wanted to form a separate nation based on an Arab religion. And he wanted a secular Islamic republic (whatever that means). His country has gone far away from his goals. Now it is being swallowed by Sharial laws, according to which Mr. Jinnah himself would have receive public flogging.To be honest, I don’t think Jinnah had any love for fellow Muslims either. He wanted power and he saw Nehru on the way. He realized that in the long term, he will have to sit under the feet of Nehru and jumped into the campaign for a separate Muslim nation. The rest is history. A few people would do anything for power and look at the state of the sub-continent. What we see in Pakistan today is Jinnah’s legacy.

Aamir Ali writes: “Coming back to Pakistan, the Swat matter is internal for Pakistan and no business of Indians who their own Maoist, Naxal and other insurgencies to worry about.”No one cares for Pakistan. Unfortunately your country happens to be sharing the border with ours. If your house is on fire, then we need to make sure that it does not spread to ours and cause damage.In fact, we’d love to mind our own business. Unfortunately your Islamic brothers keep causing collateral damage in our country and your government/ military and most of your people seem to be supportive of that. If your country did not allow dedicated groups like LeT, JUD etc which have the single goal of destabilizing India, we will mind our own business.We have enough issues like you have pointed out. But we are minding our own business. Unfortunately your brothers caused 1965, East Pakistan genocide, Kargill, Parliament attacks, Mumbai train blasts, 26/11 and so on. Please keep them confined to your shores. May be they can have a great vacation inside Taliban infested Swat valley.Then see if any of us cares if you exist or not.

MyraAs a Pakistani I want to highlight two things:1. Pakistan has seen many of crisis, rose out of rubble on 14 August 1947, saw a war immediately next year 1948, lost its founding fathers just as a nation is left orphan. Come 1965, faced an enemy thrice its size, civil war followed in 1971. No one could have imagined Pakistan could come this far, 170 million muslims living under one flag and the first and so far only muslim nuclear power in the world. We lived through everything, be it Iranian revolution or Soveit occupation of Afghhanistan. While Pakistan have shown consistently failing symptoms, Pakistan has always managed to come back from the brink. Still there are some people in the country who believe in Pakistan. That Pakistan’s creation was a miracle, Pakistan is a reality. Pakistan can simply not falter.2. Pakistan is a big enough country, demographically and geographically both. Imposition of sharia law in Swat should not alarm anyone in the world, for this is “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and already the 1973 constitutions states “No law in the country can be promulgated against the Quran(Book of Allah(GOD)) and Sunnat (Way of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). there is no question of Talibanisation of Pakistan.To All Indian fellows:Guys calm down, niether Pakistan is down in the drain nor the imposition of Sharia in Swat will start any bigger fireworks in Kolkata or Delhi. You sleep tight and take care of yourselves, everything is chill our side. All in all this is a wise decision, it has closed the door of strategic failure. While this might be a tactical gain, the NWFP government has already said there is a long way to go.Long Live Pakistan!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair says: “1. Pakistan has seen many of crisis, rose out of rubble on 14 August 1947, saw a war immediately next year 1948, lost its founding fathers just as a nation is left orphan. Come 1965, faced an enemy thrice its size, civil war followed in 1971. No one could have imagined Pakistan could come this far, 170 million muslims living under one flag and the first and so far only muslim nuclear power in the world. We lived through everything, be it Iranian revolution or Soveit occupation of Afghhanistan. While Pakistan have shown consistently failing symptoms, Pakistan has always managed to come back from the brink. Still there are some people in the country who believe in Pakistan. That Pakistan’s creation was a miracle, Pakistan is a reality. Pakistan can simply not falter.”Chchch.. What a self pity! I am not trying to laugh at Pakistanis. But distorting facts to pity one’s position is pathetic. Pakistan was not a victim of 1965 war. Your Ayub Khan launched that offensive after seeing the Chinese run over India in 1962. He saw India as a weak, Hindu nation. He got new toys from the US and was itching to go at India, just like many of your generals that followed him. The great Mujahideen sent in by your army crept into the Kashmir valley and guess what? The locals caught them and handed them over to the Indian security. Then Pakistani Sabre jets attacked the Indian territory. Ayub Khan under estimated the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri. India went for the jugular by surrounding Lahore and Karachi. A stalemate arose and the war was ended with a treaty in Tashkent. Shastri was misinformed by one of his chief commanders and decided to go along. If he did not, Pakistan would have had its supply lines cut and would have lost the war miserably. At that time no one said about India having an army, three times the size of that of Pakistan. The buzz word at that time was one Pakistani soldier is equal to three Indian soldiers. A lie told a thousand times begins to sound like truth. I don’t think you have read proper history from neutral sources.Regarding 1971, Yahya khan and his butcher Tikka Khan ignored the principles of democracy and put Mujeeb ur Rehman under house arrest. Then the brave Pakistani military engaged one of the worst genocides history has known. Read the book by one of your compatriots, Siddique Saliq on this war. He was a prisoner. India did the right thing by ending this genocide and cutting off East Pakistan for good.India has progressed well despite Pakistan being a worrisome neighbor. Know that the aggression and attacks have always come from Pakistan into India. Most of the history in the sub-continent, Pakistan has been embroiled itself in all kinds of alliances to get at India, which is a huge country.If your establishment had worked on progress instead of getting at India, we will not be coming to this forum. I have nothing against Pakistanis. I wish you guys the best. I wish your rulers and the mullahs realized that India is huge and their attempts to destabilize it are like darts on a hippo’s rear end.Once again, good luck.

I just looked at the CBS 60 minute documentary on War in Pakistan. Although this report was quickly sidelined by most on the blog, I notices 3 things1) The underground bunkers Taliban built during the last ceasefire with Pak govt. That shows that Taliban uses these calm periods to regroup and strenghthen their holds. How is this peace deal going to be different?2) The military tactics that Pak army is using against Taliban is rediculous I mean you cannot use mortars to fight terrorits. You end up htting more civilians than terrorits. No wonder there is such a high number of civilian casualities of Pak war on terror.3) The Analyst very aptly says that Zardari is convinced that this war against terror is pakistans fight to survive but He is yet to convince pakistanis that it is their war. Atleast this is what appears form the Paki bloggers and other news reports.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Myra,Someone on your blog was discussing about now fate of Gandhara artifacts.This blog entry would help.http://pakistaniat.com/2007/11/24/p akistan-swat-buddhist-taliban-statue-ext remist-militant/Also there is a clip on youtube by al-jazeera english that shows the jehanabad buddha.Sad!

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Some useful videos in case someone has not seen themPakistan is doing what Pakistan ought to do: Gilanihttp://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asia pcf/02/17/pakistan.taliban/index.html#cn nSTCVideoPakistani woman watches Taliban take over town she loves (Swat)http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asia pcf/02/17/pakistan.taliban/index.html#cn nSTCVideo

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Aamir Ali writes: “Gandhi and Congress were the ones who introduced religion into politics. They also never wanted independence, they wanted “Swaraj”, self-rule.”-posted by Aamir Ali?????Aamir, Yes Gandhi/Nehru mixed a lot of religions in politics-in fact not one, but all religions since they Secular. :-)They were inclusive and for universal brotherhood.BTAamir Ali writes: “Gandhi and Congress were the ones who introduced religion into politics. They also never wanted independence, they wanted “Swaraj”, self-rule.”

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Gandhi and Congress were the ones who introduced religion into politics. They also never wanted independence, they wanted “Swaraj”, self-rule.-posted by Aamir Alimessage Got truncated.”Swaraj” means self-rule , home rule i.e., independence from British——nothing to do with religion.Let us get back to swat.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Umair:@1. Pakistan has seen many of crisis, rose out of rubble on 14 August 1947, saw a war immediately next year 1948, lost its founding fathers just as a nation is left orphan.–At least you got some excuse for failures of Pak. In all probability things would ot have been any different.@Come 1965, faced an enemy thrice its size, civil war followed in 1971.–Pak attacked the neighbour and made an enemy out of a potential friend. :-(@so far only muslim nuclear power in the world.–Here we go again. “nuclear” :-)@That Pakistan’s creation was a miracle, Pakistan is a reality.–It is the product of an insufficient imagination.@To All Indian fellows:Guys calm down, niether Pakistan is down in the drain nor the imposition of Sharia in Swat will start any bigger fireworks in Kolkata or Delhi. You sleep tight and take care of yourselves, everything is chill our side.–You be in denial. we are not going to go to bed with neighbor’s house on fire–it affects us. Yes Sharia does not–I am sincerely sad for the girls and women.Here is a video for you:Pakistani woman watches Taliban take over town she loveshttp://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap cf/02/17/pakistan.taliban/index.html#cnn STCVideo@All in all this is a wise decision, it has closed the door of strategic failure. While this might be a tactical gain, the NWFP government has already said there is a long way to go.–Can you tell us the gains out of the peacedeal?One morePakistan is doing what Pakistan ought to dohttp://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/ 02/17/pakistan.taliban/index.html#cnnSTC Video

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

[...] << Truth in AdvertisingSharia Law Around the World 18 February 2009 @ 9:02AM Islamic law is gaining ground all over the globe, and not just in places like Pakistan. [...]

We have a few bloggers who are all for the peace deal in the Swat Valley. They say that the people want swift and non-corrupt justice, unlike what happens in India(and other parts of the world), where money talks and cases drag on for 5-10 years. They also say that the people of Swat as well as the Pakistanis are happy with the deal. But, making deals with the devil is no way to get peace and happiness. What will the Pakistanis do when the Taliban gets its hands on the nukes??? And, uses those nukes to get people in the region to do as they say? Can Pakistan and its people live that outcome? To not have girls go to school? Are the men who have children okay with their girls being married off to men 3times their age??? Are they okay with their daughters, wives, mothers and sisters having no access to medical care? For, if girls cannot go to school, they cannot be doctors. And, if they cannot be doctors, women cannot be treated for illnesses The taliban will never allow a male doctor to take care of a female patient. So, before you idiots make up your mind, think carefully.

@rajeevLet the Pakistani posters respond to pot-shots, unless you Indians are frightened of replies.Gandhi/Congress introduced religion, with Hinduism at the top. They ignored the Muslim community and its leaders, which led Jinnah to leave Congress and join the All-India Muslim League.Swaraj doesn’t mean independence, it means self-rule. Meaning what Gandhi/Congress wanted was autonomy under the British.

Aamir Ali,Your comments are entertaining. Please do not digress from the topic with fradulent references to Indian history and an ill-conceived meaning of the word “Swaraj”.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Aamir Ali writes: “Gandhi/Congress introduced religion, with Hinduism at the top. They ignored the Muslim community and its leaders, which led Jinnah to leave Congress and join the All-India Muslim League.Swaraj doesn’t mean independence, it means self-rule. Meaning what Gandhi/Congress wanted was autonomy under the British.”Again ignorance at its worst! Like it or not, India has a majority Hindus.Gandhi fought for equality of all faiths. In fact he fasted unto death for saving Muslims. He fought for Muslims so much during the partition that he was shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic. Gandhi even offered Jinnah the position of leading India. Nehru was a highly anglicized and wealthy man who was secular to the bones. It was because of his efforts that India is where it is today. Kindly learn proper history from sources outside of Pakistan.Gandhi organized the “Quit India” movement asking the British to leave the sub-continent. Swaraj means complete self rule. If he wanted the British to quit, why would he need swaraj under the British? Please talk sense.

Mauryan::As a Pakistani, and someone who loves his country,you are right!As much as it makes me sad, you are right about what has been happening here. In our school text books, when we were barely 13 or 14 years old, the following was the start of a paragraph, on the 1965 war,by the Federal board of education, Islamabad. It goes like this:““Aur raat ki tareeki mey Bharat ki “Taddi Dil” Fauj ney hamari pak sarzameen per hamlaa kar dia!”” This is the line we were taught, from the very beginning! Bharat was always the aggressor and Pakistan the victim…I remember the posters, in which Indra Gandhi was shown as a vampire, sucking the blood of our country!It was a long time before a generation became adults, and aware to the lies that were rammed down our throats, by the rulers of this unfortunate land.These so called rulers, and not India, are the real vampires, sucking this nation dry. Be they Military or Civilian, they have sucked the blood out of our land, they have taken turns molesting and violating this nation.Today they have turned Pakistan into a Pariah State and have made our heads hang in shame, because we the people are meek and helpless against their tyranny, deceit and lies!What is happening in Swat and elsewhere in this country is horrific, gruesome and beyond words!The Talibaan Barbarians are taking over my country, killing, maiming and destroying everything in their path.The people of swat are fed up with the Government’s lies and now prey that anyone, even Israel or America come and help them! The Pakistan Army is butchering its own people! This is the hard, sad truth, here in this land of deception and wanton murder!We are like Lambs, waiting for our turn, in the all encompassing slaughter house, that is now Pakistan……KamalIslamabad..

Posted by kamal | Report as abusive

[...] 8. Pakistan has freed the notorious A.Q. Khan, who sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran, and has capitulated to the brutal Taliban in the Swat region [...]

@MauryanGandhi ignored the minority religious communities of india, especially the Muslims. That is why these communities formed their own political parties and leaderships. If your Gandhi was indeed so inclusive, there would not be a Pakistan/Bangladesh/Kashmir problem today.

Pakistan needs to get ready to defend herself of India.The nuclear race going on there, is not just “siblings envy” it is because India wants to slave down Pakistan.And we’re being used for that mischief; With the old story of “the war on terror”, pitiful Bush’s excuse and outright lie, we’re getting deeper and deeper in an absurd, primitive and cruel Religious War.Not to mention Afghanistan; English couldn’t do them, Russian couldn’t do them, and we think we’ll get Afghans to say uncle? Ha!Live and let live! When are we going to understand that? We’re on the Twenty First Century for Pete’s sake! Cannot force the wole world to their knees! It is a global globe, we are as humans and as close to them as they are to us, we cannot still believe in the imperial thoughts of the 19th century and snatch one more country and their choices. The proof being the Iraq holocaust and our $3 Trillion ridicule there.Get us out of there, Obama!

Posted by Viejo Vizcacha | Report as abusive

[...] freed the notorious A.Q. Khan, who sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran, and has capitulated to the brutal Taliban in the Swat region 9. Obama has announced that he will close Guantanamo within a year — even though his [...]

More likely in our heart we are ready for any out come from any option where from american, india or so called other organizations.Starts late but we (pakistan) expecting things go around when we make realise other powers of our existence.We can hit more harder in future but people of pakistan can start over again that is what other dont think. if they leave us in current situation or over come they will regret.

Posted by zahid gilani | Report as abusive

[...] the Zia years. And public opinion turned against the hardline Islamist practices of the Taliban when they occupied the Swat valley last year. But while people may be willing to argue against the Taliban, it is less clear that society as a [...]

[...] – Pakistan:  Now or Never? – 16 February 2009 Related Posts:Pakistani Journalists Subject to Violence in Tribal [...]