Swat Sharia laws rock Pakistan’s Senate

April 20th, 2009 - 11:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 20 (IANS) The Sharia laws imposed in Swat Valley and other parts of Pakistan’s restive northwest Monday rocked the Senate, the upper house of parliament, with the Muttahidda Quami Movement (MQM) and other opposition parties walking out in protest against the remarks of a Taliban-linked radical cleric on the country’s judicial system.
Prior to this, a heated exchange of words and sloganeering against the promulgation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation rocked the Senate as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan tabled it in the house, Geo TV said.

The move was a mere formality as the regulation has already come into force with the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament April 13 passing it by a majority vote after an MQM walkout and President Asif Ali Zardari quickly ratifying it the same night.

The opposition members were incensed over the remarks Sunday of Maulana Sufi Mohammad of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) that Pakistan’s existing judicial system was un-Islamic and his vowing to impose Sharia across the country.

In the midst of the pandemonium, Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naek reserved his ruling on the regulation.

The situation in the Senate was far different than in the National Assembly, where only the MQM had raised the voice of dissent as other opposition parties quietly acquiesced to the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation.

In fact, Ports and Shipping Minister Babar Khan Ghauri went to the extent of requesting the house chairman to pass a ruling over Sufi Mohammad’s statement terming parliament “unlawful” under Shariah.

Ghauri accused the cleric of violating the sanctity of the judiciary and parliament.

Leader of Opposition Waseem Sajjad saw little purpose behind the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation being tabled in the upper house.

The Pakistani government said Monday it was examining Sufi Mohammad’s remarks and had sought a recording of his speech.

At his rally Sunday at Mingora city in Swat, Sufi Mohammed 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 judgments 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 criticized 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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