Pakistan’s Swat deal under microscope again, after attack

March 5, 2009

President Asif Ali Zardari has said that an agreement signed last month to allow Islamic law in the troubled Swat Valley in return for a ceasefire was made with religious clerics, and not the Taliban. The Pakistani state had not negotiated with the Taliban and other extremist elements, and nor will it ever do so, Zardari wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

But some people are questioning the distinction that Zardari is drawing between the “traditional local clerics” and the Swat Taliban militants who effectively control what was once an idyllic holiday destination. In the light of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, the first major strike on international sport since the Munich Olympic massacre of 1972, the debate over the deal has acquired a sharper edge as some see it as having emboldened the militants in the first place.

Bill Roggio, writing in the The Weekly Standard blog, says Sufi Mohammad, the cleric who negotiated the ceasefire in Swat with the government of the North West Frontier Province, has been a long-time Taliban supporter  praising them as recently  last month just days before the accord was signed.

He quotes Mohammad as saying in a recent interview that he believed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 was “ideal.”

“From the very beginning, I have viewed democracy as a system imposed on us by the infidels. Islam does not allow democracy or elections,” Mohammad told Deutsche Presse-Agentur just days before the latest agreement was signed. “I believe the Taliban government formed a complete Islamic state, which was an ideal example for other Muslim countries.”

In 1990s, Mohammed ran an armed campaign to force the introduction of sharia in the region and in 2001 led his supporters to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S.-led coalition forces as this Reuters story says. He was arrested upon his return and released in 2007 after he said he was giving up violence.

His son-in-law Mullah Fazlullah, the radical anti-government cleric, now runs the armed campaign in Swat where militants have unleashed a reign of terror, killing and beheading politicians, singers, soldiers and opponents. They have banned female education and destroyed nearly 200 girls’ schools.

“President Zardari’s entire premise for negotiations falls apart when you look at who the government is actually negotiating with. And the United States is supposed to be comforted in knowing Pakistan has ceded territory to a man who praises the Taliban and sent thousands of fighters to kill our troops in Afghanistan,” Roggio writes.
 
Pakistan’s Dawn said the Lahore attack was a price the state was paying for giving in to militants and takes issue with the Pakistani authorities for trying to pass it off as a local deal.

“Tuesday’s assault also highlights the folly of negotiating with those bent on destroying our way of life. The peace deal, or capitulation, in Swat has been described by officialdom as a regional solution to a regional problem. This does not wash, it cannot fly. Militancy and terrorism are national problems that are not confined to a specific region.”

 ”The obscurantists must be tackled head-on if we are to entertain any hope of redemption. If the state resorts to negotiating with militants from a position of weakness, what we will get is disaster, across the board.”

And the Taliban won’t be stopped in Swat either, warns author Ahmed Rashid in a piece for the YaleGlobal Online . He writes that from their lair in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) the Taliban have already expanded their influence into the settled areas of North West Frontier Province and virtually laid siege to the capital Peshawar

Rashid says the Swat deal has become an explosive issue within Pakistan, going in some ways to the heart of the struggle. ”Right wing, religious-minded citizens and politicians praise it for bringing peace to Swat, while liberal Pakistanis see it as an unmistakable watershed in the country’s battle against Islamic extremism, giving Al Qaeda and the Taliban a new safe haven.” 

And from where they can carry out attacks. Which makes the whole deal quite different from the local, limited arrangement that the Pakistani establishment led by Zardari is suggesting it is.

[Reuters pictures of girls in a school that reopened in Swat, a member of Pakistani Islamist delegation and a military helicopter at Lahore cricket ground]

Comments

The terrorist attacks and blood shed in the mosques of settled areas of pakistan are the price people are paying for electing Zardari to power..
This good for nothing, useless president is running from door to door taking orders from everyone.from china, US, army, ISI, PPP members, Taliban, Mullas, Saudi etc all of then who do not have a iota of concern for comman man in pakistan..
He do not seem to have a self thinking or decision making capability, forget providing good leadership..In all people of pakistan are simply left with guessing whats going to happen next, all the time thinking who is doing what..what is hidden agenda etc..with no sight of peace anywhere closer..
Pakistan is bound to detiorate in the same way as long as Zardari is in power.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive
 

Anitha
Thank you for showing so much concern for Pakistan. Pakistanis need to take it very easy, many people are out here wishing well like you. Why dont you run for election and become Pakistan’s president. After all you are too concerned with Pakistan.

Zardari running door to door? oh ok just like Pranab Mukherjee or Hillary Clinton. Leaders are mostly frequent travelers.

Zardari taking orders? oh like Manmohan tokk orders of restraint from America. How large India is but still it cant take independent decisions on its own. Whats the problem with Zardari taking orders from someone and then not following or following them? I see no point here either.

There might be people guessing in Pakistan what will happen next, yet many are well infomred, have access to international media and information technology and have situational awareness.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

@Why dont you (anitha) run for election and become Pakistan’s president. After all you are too concerned with Pakistan.
-posted by Umair

Umair: Incidently I was thinking along the same lines that perhaps it is in Pak’s best interest to outsource the management of the whole nation.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev
you being an Indian are well aware of the outsourcing phenomenon. Just remember when a firm outsources one of its division, the top management overlooks the function of that particular division. Now read below, in this case:

Division: Presidency
Top Management: Pakistan Army/ ISI

Did you get my point? does it make any sense?
In Pakistan you will find the best strategists and managers.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“There was no skin on his back,”

How can humans do this to humans .. Is this how much we have evolved in past 2 million years ..

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/world/ asia/06swat.html?hp

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

“Some officials have fled to Islamabad, the capital, some as far afield as London”

Is this the vision Jinnah had?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/world/ asia/06swat.html?hp

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
I don’t live in Pakistan. May be you know more than I do. So, what is the future of SWAT? of Pakistan?

2 months -
6 months -
12 months -

Do people inside the country are as hopeless and desperate as we outsiders are?

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 
 

Don Zardari: “You see, I know where the state is going.”

“Several of Zardari’s fellow inmates now occupy cabinet-level posts in his government”

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/s tory.html?id=1351338

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Happy to see self-confidence of Pakistanis like Umair, Ali etc who put up BRAVE resistance to non-Pakistanis across the blogosphere!!

Posted by Venkat | Report as abusive
 

Umair wrote:
Zardari running door to door? oh ok just like Pranab Mukherjee or Hillary Clinton. Leaders are mostly frequent travelers.
Zardari taking orders? oh like Manmohan tokk orders of restraint from America. How large India is but still it cant take independent decisions on its own.

Umair, Zardari was (and still is) running around trying to save Pakistan:

I HATE repeating these, but they need to sink in:

(1) Asking Saudi Arabia for defferment in oil payments.
(2) Asking the USA for ‘money on the table’ no questions asked and no strings attached.
(3) Asking China for a loan (soft or otherwise) and getting rebuffed.
(4) Forming this ‘Friends Of Democratic Pakistan’ group to help steer Pakistan through tough times. This was a real desperate attempt to get as many countries together and show how friendly Pakistan is.
(5) Going to the IMF for a loan and meeting having to meet the IMF guys in Dubai because of secuity concerns in Pakistan.

I cannot recall Pranab Mukherjee or Hilary Clinton frequnetly travelling for the above points.

Zardari will really be rethinking the peace deal with the Taliban in Swat after these attacks.

I have no idea of Zardari taking orders from anyone, so on that matter I do not know.

Manmoham Singh did not take any orders of restraint from the USA (please state proof).

However, when Manmohan Singh got the Nuclear deal with the USA, Zardari and Gilani thought they should get a similar deal (Johnny-come-lately) because they are helping America with the War on Terror. They did not get it and they did not get it from the Chinese either. The Chinese know that Pakistan cannot afford it.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Umair, Pranab mukherjee and Hilary clinton are foreign ministers..their job is to work on relations with other countries..Zardari is not..compare apple with apple not orange !!
Zardari and Gilani takes orders from army and ISI, everybody knows that dont you ??
Now Musharaff made it clear, that zardari takes orders from him too..that is why Judges are still jobless and the elected shariffs are outof office..
And as far as me contesting in elections in pakistan..I will try next time if democracy is still alive in pakistan till next time..and oh i will be contesting with a BJP ticket hope you dont mind !!

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive
 

Well I guess we’ll just wait till Zardari writes another Op-Ed in some American paper to find out what he is doing as President of Pakistan and how he differentiates between friendly and unfriendly Taliban and supporters or strikes another deal with them. Great lesson in governance from a great President.

Dara

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

@you being an Indian are well aware of the outsourcing phenomenon. Just remember when a firm outsources one of its division, the top management overlooks the function of that particular division. Now read below, in this case:
Division: Presidency
Top Management: Pakistan Army/ ISI
Did you get my point? does it make any sense?
In Pakistan you will find the best strategists and managers.
-Posted by Umair

Umair: Good one. :-) We don’t hesitate to appreciate the opponent. My mistake that I failed to label Pakistan as “sick unit”. Does that work? If still does not read the fine print.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev
What will you label Pakistan? you could label as terrorist state, sick unit or whatever. I dont care, I love Pakistan. We are hell bent to make this venture successful inspite of cut throat competition. For us going bankrupt or having acquired or getting into a merger is simply not an option. We strive to be market leader creating new benchmarks in excellence.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

David wrote:
“Do people inside the country are as hopeless and desperate as we outsiders are?”

You seem to be concerned about Pakistan’s future, my friend its true Pakistan is facing problems like any other country. But life goes on, we still go to office, schools are educating kids, the national airline flies to all domestic and international routes. The Army is defending the borders, the atomic energy commission employs thousands of researches, scientists and engineers in Pakistan’s nuclear program. University students are getting their degrees, weddings happen. I mean we still live a normal life despite the security situation in the NWFP province. Media hype is showing Pakistan on the brink of disaster, a nation which might go bankrupt, taken over by terrorists etc. Far from truth, Pakistan;s future is bright, I live in Pakistan and am hopeful so too are many others. Outsiders should stay calm and relax, Pakistan is in safe hands!

The future of Swat? i cant exsplain you things you would,nt be able to understand. here is my skype, lets talk and we will have a conversation:
umairmalik.pk
or email: umairmalik_pk@yahoo.com

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
Thanks for the optimistic note. I feel better. I hope things will get better and prosperous. Just stay away from Talibans, killing humans or blowing up things anywhere.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

@Umair

Yes, Every country has problem but not on a scale of what Pakistan is having. Read bulletfish’s comment above till the message sinks in. What’s bad is that those problems are just few pakistan is having.

In a real world/Business/Enterprise results are what matters and not intentions. No matter how good your/Paki’s intentions are about your country the fact at the ground is the same.

The things you told to show that life is normal in pakistan is the same in even a failed country. But in a failed/failing country Inflation is rampant, currency is devaluated, Balance of payment is precarious and country is running out of liquid cash and seeking loans/aids a little too frequently to survive thru essential imports. Unfortunately all these symtoms are there with Pakistan.

With all the above i see your case as a case of delusion rather than confidence.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

@umair,

Umair seems to be a big fan of the Pak Army. I think I can accurately says that he advocates military rule over democracy and military proxy wars over peace. It is time for a regime change in Pakistan, by that I mean that the Pak Military should be fired by its people.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Global watcher,

Not only Umair,but also most of the Punjabi Pakistanis prefer a military style government. They have the largest enrollment in their military. They are a dominant culture. For centuries these people have been engaged in two activities mostly – farming and war. And there have been innumerable wars in this region. Punjab in general, including the Indian side also can be considered to be the same in this regard. But adding Islam to the already burning psyche makes it a little deadlier. The Hindu Punjabis are fully tempered by the pacific nature of their religion in general. The Sikhs have a mix of both Islam and Hinduism and are somewhere in between. The Pakistani Punjabis see themselves as a very big and powerful community. To them, everything else looks small, weak and effeminate. They were mainly responsible for the separation of East Pakistan. They are the ones who have driven their country to this state by believing in brute strength and macho exhibition. But they also have lived up to it. They produced one of the best sportsmen in the world, in hockey and cricket especially. They are world class as military soldiers. The British could not touch them when all of them (Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus) were under Ranjit Singh. They are tough people and Gandhian style approach to matters does not appeal to them. Ever since Pakistan’s creation, they have been itching for confrontation somewhere. They are so blinded by testosterone that they are looking at a huge country like India at par with themselves. And they have dragged the rest of the country with them. The Pashtuns are relatively soft people. They come after others only when provoked. Otherwise they mind their own business. The Sindhis are into money making and business. They want no macho military adventures with anyone. The Balochis are more like the Pashtuns. So Pakistan’s belligerent attitude comes from their Punjab heartland. They prefer a military dictatorship because dictators need to run the war machine. That is all they are familiar with. If an academic ran the country, he will look at setting up educational institutions. If an industrialist or a businessman ran the country, he would try to set up industry and infrastructure. Engineers will set up roads, dams, power lines and so on. Military generals will set up an infrastructure for defense purposes. If there is no enemy, they will create one.

Pakistanis have been ruled for too long by military and they have not been exposed to free societies. Those who live in England and other Western nations, prefer to live there and will not return to their homeland. Hence the inclination of Mr. Umair to love the military and iron hand in everything. To him slow justice will not appeal. That is why he supports the Taliban rule as well – quick and simple justice. Brutal means will help enforce harsh tranquility. And it appeals to these people.

 

Rajeev
@What will you label Pakistan? you could label as terrorist state, sick unit or whatever. I dont care, I love Pakistan. We are hell bent to make this venture successful inspite of cut throat competition. For us going bankrupt or having acquired or getting into a merger is simply not an option. We strive to be market leader creating new benchmarks in excellence.
- Posted by Umair

Umair: I like this optimism and spirit. I agree merger idea is no option–that will sink even the most successful unit. It needs to be dealt with in current state. Also, Pakistan needs to sail in one boat, either military dictatorship or civilian govt that controls military. Military has tried managing and it has not worked.

Good luck!
Concerned neighbor

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

The Machiavellian tactics,used like Zardari did in his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal,cut down the scope for the success of any initiative,like agreement with Sufi Mohammad of TNSM,drastically. The ugly rationalization in an attempt to play double game,consoling the foes and friends at the same time, can’t be a fruitful exercise, particularly when dealing with single track fanatics,devoid of pragmatism.Such issues require patient handling which persons with the haunt of insecurity(mental) can hardly exercise.Unfortunately their cohorts,a bunch of greedy stooges can hardly contribute

Posted by M Saleem Chaudhry | Report as abusive
 

Who would be gaining out of this incident……. I think Pakistan should start complete wipe-out program for RA&W elements in Pakistan, Now after its failure to defame Pakistan, even after killing its own people in the name of 26/11 mumbai incident, india has started to show its crule intentions towards a peace-loving country, india is lossing against Pakistan in every aspect and God is helping Pakistan (see Wagha incidents, when indian soldier got terrified byu Pakistani soldier, Nature has beaten india against Pakistan) Now india is using cheap tricks like attacking the Cricket Players, ruining the paradise on earth by funding SWAT militants, and many more. india should not forget that the world is watching. india is famous for mass murders of muslims, who do not know the story of Babu Bajrangi, who himslef raped, killed, burnt alive, tear-apart more than 100 muslims with the support of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and indian govt. is doing nothing on this case (see india\’s owned website http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp? filename=Ne031107NarodaPatyaMassacre.asp  )

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive
 

@Who would be gaining out of this incident……. I think Pakistan should start complete wipe-out program for RA&W elements in Pakistan, ……………..india is famous for mass murders of muslims, who do not know the story of Babu Bajrangi, who himslef raped, killed, burnt alive, tear-apart more than 100 muslims with the support of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and indian govt. is doing nothing on this case (see india\’s owned website http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp? filename=Ne031107NarodaPatyaMassacre.asp   )
- Posted by Peace

-Peace: Indian Muslims do not give a damn to your sympathies–your crocodile tears for vested interest or time-pass. They are sick and angry at you people from Pakistan–sitting in Pakistan and pretending to be fellow Muslim brother. They do not want to be attached to you–such is your stage. Sane Muslims accept that India is the best place for them. There is a scope for progress. Hatred taught to you or self-learnt that Indian Muslims have Economic and social disparity etc. is a myth. You can count the # of Muslim riots and other such incidents on your fingers (in many cases culpirits held), but you need days to write about the benifits and advantages they have in Indian system–workable secular democracy, # of prominent Indian names in all walks of life. All those prominent persons if they had decided to go to Pakistan would perhaps be talking crap like you and doing nothing else for the good of Pakistan. Go man get some life. Leave Indian alone.

As you would know your former Pres. Musharraf was in India invited at a meeting also talke about RA&W role in India. He said this:
“We have to accept the reality. Your R&AW does exactly what the ISI does. My request is let us tackle the RAW and the ISI to stop this confrontation,”

A prominent Indian Muslim responded like this. Click below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1sUdAdl NI

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Who would be gaining out of this incident……. I think Pakistan should start complete wipe-out program for RA&W elements in Pakistan, ……………..india is famous for mass murders of muslims….”
- Posted by Peace

-Peace: Indian Muslims do not give a damn to your sympathies–your crocodile tears for vested interest or time-pass. They are sick and angry at you people from Pakistan–sitting in Pakistan and pretending to be fellow Muslim brother. They do not want to be attached to you–such is your stage. Sane Muslims accept that India is the best place for them. There is a scope for progress. Hatred taught to you or self-learnt that Indian Muslims have Economic and social disparity etc. is a myth. You can count the # of Muslim riots and other such incidents on your fingers (in many cases culpirits held), but you need days to write about the benifits and advantages they have in Indian system–workable secular democracy, # of prominent Indian names in all walks of life. All those prominent persons if they had decided to go to Pakistan would perhaps be talking crap like you and doing nothing else for the good of Pakistan. Go man get some life. Leave Indian alone.

As you would know your former Pres. Musharraf was in India invited at a meeting also talke about RA&W role in India. He said this:
“We have to accept the reality. Your R&AW does exactly what the ISI does. My request is let us tackle the RAW and the ISI to stop this confrontation,”

A prominent Indian Muslim responded like this. Click below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1sUdAdl NI

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Peace,

Please take a pill to care yourself down.
What proof do you have that India is funding Taliban in Swat? None. If this was the case Pakistan and India would be at war already. Its all in your head. You call yourself a patriotic Pakistani, well good for you. However, do not let your patriotism cloud your thinking to make rash judgements. You mention RAW today; next week you will state CIA, MI5, MI6 or your great satan…MOSSAD!!!!

Isn’t it disheartening enough to see the Sri Lankan players get attacked on their way to the stadium? They were promised ‘presidential security’. Where was it? No country will come to Pakistan to play international cricket for a long time. The ICC will drop Pakistan as host of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, but India and Bangladesh will lose out in this too. For all I know South Africa will host in 2011.

Pakistan has suffered and will continue to suffer, which is why its been:

(1) Asking Saudi Arabia for defferment in oil payments.
(2) Asking the USA for ‘money on the table’ no questions asked and no strings attached.
(3) Asking China for a loan (soft or otherwise) and getting rebuffed.
(4) Forming this ‘Friends Of Democratic Pakistan’ group to help steer Pakistan through tough times. This was a real desperate attempt to get as many countries together and show how friendly Pakistan is.
(5) Going to the IMF for a loan and meeting having to meet the IMF guys in Dubai because of secuity concerns in Pakistan.

No tourists will visit Pakistan; no international sports events will be hosted by Pakistan because foreign teams will not want to travel there. No investments will come into the country because of these incidents, but also there is a worldwide recession.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

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