Pakistan media debates Swat deal with Taliban

April 14th, 2009 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 14 (IANS) By agreeing to impose Sharia laws in part of its restive northeast, Pakistan had ceded control of the area to a “band of militants”, an editorial in a leading English daily said Tuesday.
However,anothernewspaperlaudedparliament’s”collectivewisdom”inagreeingtoacontroversialpeacedealwiththeTalibanbyimposingSharialawsintheSwatValleyandsixotherdistrictsoftheNorthWestFrontierProvince(NWFP)inreturnforthemilitantslayingdowntheirarms.

“IteffectivelycedesjudicialcontrolofapartofPakistantoabandofmilitantswhohavebeenwagingasavagewaragainstthestate,”Dawnsaidinaneditorial.

“Thecollectivewisdomofthecountry’sprimepublicrepresentativebody-theNationalAssemblyofPakistan-hasputitsweightbehindtheSwatpeacedealtosavethepeopleofthevalleyfromruthlesskillingandcompletelawlessness,whichhasbeenthehallmarkofthisoncetheenchantingtouristresortofPakistan,”TheNewssaidinacommentary.

PresidentAsifAliZardariratifiedthepeacedeallateMondayafterparliamenthadpasseditafteraday-longdebatethatsawtheMuttahidaQuamiMovement(MQM)walkingoutinprotest.

Indoingso,Zardaritooktheeasywayoutbytossingtheissueintoparliament’scourtinthefaceofgrowinginternationalpressureagainstthedeal.

ZardarihadgivenhisnodtotheFeb16dealbetweentheNWFPgovernmentandTaliban-linkedradicalclericSufiMohammadbutbalkedatratifyingitaftermanyWesternnations,includingtheUS,termedita”retrograde”step.

Hethen,veryconveniently,puttheonusonparliamentsothathecouldturnaroundandshowtotheworldthatPakistan’selectedrepresentativessupportedthepact.

“Thiswasnotthekindofpoliticsthecountryneeded,”Dawnsaid.

Concedingthattheconstitutiongivesthepresidenttheauthoritytomake”regulationsforthepeaceandgoodgovernmentofaProvinciallyAdministeredTribalArea”,itaddedthatwhathadbeenagreedtoinSwat”isnoordinarychange”.

Dawnalsonotedthatthedebateinparliament”wasyetanothermissedopportunity”.

“Thebiggerpointisthatthepoliticiansstillneedtoreachaconsensusonhowtocountermilitancy.Whenforceisusedsomesegmentsinthepoliticalspectrumeruptinangerandindignation.

“Whenpeacedealsarepursued,othersegmentsdenouncethemasappeasement.Yet,nooneseemsseriousaboutdevisingacrediblestrategytofightmilitancy,”theeditorialmaintained.

AccordingtoTheNews,Pakistan’sparliamentarians”havedefinitelyplayedtheirroleofbeingpublicrepresentativesandthusshouldbeencouragedandpraised”.

“Goingwellbeyondtheirpersonalphilosophies,ideologiesandpoliticalthinking,thesemembersoftheParliamentsupportedthepeacedeal,whichinnormalcircumstanceswouldnothavebeenacceptabletomostofthem.

“TheirprioritywastosecurethepeopleofSwatfrombeingpushedbacktothepre-Feb16situationwheninnocentpeoplewerebeheaded,butchered,looted,harassedandevenfloggedatthewhimsofagroupofarmedindividuals,”TheNewsmaintained.

Italsonotedthatitwas”nosecret”thatparliamenthasbeeninvolvedintheexercise”onlytotelltheforeignpowersparticularlyWashington,whichhasitsreservationsabouttheSwatpeacedeal,thattheimpositionofIslamicjusticesystemisthewillofthepeopleofPakistan.

“Nodoubt,asmartmovefromPresidentZardari,who,forachangehasstartedtakingdecisionsthatsurprisemany,”TheNewssaid.

–Indo-AsianNewsService

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