‘Shariat deal proof of Pakistan military’s defeat’

February 17th, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 17 (IANS) A deal to enforce Shariat laws in parts of Pakistan’s restive northwest is proof of the military’s defeat against Taliban militants operating in the area and has “implications” for other parts of the country, an editorial in a leading English daily said Tuesday.
“The fact is that this deal shows that the Pakistan military has in fact been defeated by the militants; that we are now incapable of retaining control of vast tracts of our own territory,” The News said in an editorial headlined “Shariah in Swat”.

Noting that the deal “has implications” for other parts of the country where militants hold sway, the editorial said: “The day may come when a decision is made to strike deals there too - and by doing so allow the militants to seize control of a people whose government no longer seems able to protect them or safeguard their rights as citizens.”

The North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and radical cleric Sufi Mohammad’s Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) Monday inked a deal to impose the Nizam-e-Adl Shariat law in seven districts of the province, including the Swat valley, where the writ of the Pakistani Taliban largely runs.

At the same time, the editorial conceded that the “desperation” of the NWFP’s ruling Awami National Party that held talks with the cleric that led to the deal was “understandable”.

“The horrendous situation in a region where people have suffered tremendous brutality, where girls have been driven out of schools and where people have been beheaded in public for defying the militants is one that no elected government can stand by and calmly endure.

“The perceptions in Swat that the military was not committed to quashing the wild band of militants it confronted added to the helplessness of the Peshawar government,” the News maintained.

Tens of thousands have fled Swat. Estimates vary, but human rights monitors believe that up to 800,000 of the valley’s 1.8 million people may have left.

“In the sense that the 10-day truce announced by militants and a longer-term deal with the government may bring peace to the lives of devastated people, it must be welcomed.

“Seen from other perspectives, there is plenty of room for trepidation,” the editorial contended.

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