Pakistan examining cleric’s comments on Sharia courts (Lead)

April 20th, 2009 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 20 (IANS) The Pakistani government is examining the remarks of a Taliban-linked radical cleric on the supremacy of Sharia courts over the existing judiciary, a senior minister said Monday.
A recording of Sufi Muhammad’s public address Sunday, during the course of which he said Pakistan’s judicial system was un-Islamic and vowed to impose Sharia across the country, is being viewed to evaluate the intent behind his remarks, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Geo TV.

Asked about the situation in parts of the country’s restive northwest where Sharia laws have been imposed in return for a controversial peace deal with the Taliban to lay down their arms, Malik said a report had been sought from the provincial government.

“Provincial government is responsible to maintaining law and order situation in Swat and other parts of NWFP (North West Frontier Province),” he noted in this context, adding: “A high-level meeting has been called on Tuesday to review the overall law and order situation across the country.”

Malik Monday also called on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and apprised him about the steps taken by the government to improve the law and order situation in the country.

At his rally Sunday at Mingora city in Swat, Sufi Mohammed, who heads the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM), termed judges, lawyers and pro-democracy clerics of Pakistan as “rebels”.

“Opposition to enforcement of (the law as per) the holy Quran is infidelity,” the Nation newspaper quoted the radical cleric as saying.

Pakistan’s judicial system, he said, was un-Islamic and the judgements of Sharia courts could not be challenged in these courts.

“High courts and the Supreme Court were ‘ghair sharaiee’ (un-Islamic) institutions and going for appeal in ‘ghair sharaiee’ institutions was ‘haram’ (prohibited as per Islamic code),” he added.

Sufi Mohammed’s TNSM and the NWFP government Feb 16 inked a controversial peace deal under which Sharia laws would be imposed in Swat and six other districts of Malakand in return for the Taliban laying down their arms.

Thousands had gathered to attend Sufi Muhammad’s rally.

He also criticised the country’s rulers, saying “they were appeasing the West by thrusting the Nizam of Kufr (rule of infidelity)”.

He said that he wanted peace and affection among the Muslims and “wish to set up an environment of brotherhood.”

“But the Muslims were divided in different parties, we direly need unity at this time,” he maintained.

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