Swat Taliban inch closer to Islamabad (Second Lead)April 22nd, 2009 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, April 22 (IANS) Saying they are not governed by any rules, the Swat Taliban have moved south and taken control of Buner district just 100 km from this federal capital, as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned them that the peace accord could be revisited.
“We can go wherever we want. There are no rules for us,” Swat Taliban spokesperson Mulsim told a TV news channel.
After consolidating their position in Swat, the Taliban have extended their control to almost all tehsils of Buner district and law-enforcement personnel remain confined to police stations and camps, Dawn reported Wednesday.
Asked to comment on the increased belligerence of the Taliban in the wake of the Swat accord, Gilani told reporters here: “If peace is not restored, we can rethink the idea.”
Equipped with advanced weapons, the Taliban are now reported to be eyeing the Swabi district further south, as also Mardan to the west, the home district of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Chief Minister Haider Khan Hoti.
Led by local Taliban commander Fateh Mohammad, the militants in Buner have been asking local people, particularly youngsters, to join them in their campaign to enforce Sharia.
According to reports from the area, the militants have set up checkposts along the borders of the two districts.
The militants have started digging trenches and setting up bunkers on the heights in strategic towns of Gadezi, Salarzai and Osherai.
They have also started patrolling bazaars, villages and towns in the district.
“They have robbed government and NGO offices of vehicles, computers, printers, generators, edible oil containers, and food and nutrition packets,” Dawn said.
Sources said leading political figures, businessmen, NGO officials and tribal elders, who had played a role in establishing a peace council earlier this month to stop the Taliban from entering Buner, had been forced to move to other areas.
Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad had Feb 16 signed a controversial peace deal with the NWFP government to impose Sharia laws and six other districts of the province, collectively known as the Malakand division, in return for the militants laying down their arms.
At that time, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had said he would ratify the accord only after peace returned to the area. He, however, backtracked in the face of strident international protests against the deal and tossed it to the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
The National Assembly passed the Nizam-e Adil Regulation by a majority April 13 after the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), a junior partner of the ruling coalition walked out in protest. Zardari ratified it the same night and the Sharia laws came into force two days later.
Significantly, when the Regulation was presented before the National Assembly, it was preceded by a warning from the Taliban that any legislator who did not endorse it would be deemed a “non-Muslim” - meaning that he or she would be considered an apostate and deemed worthy of being killed.
The Nizam-e Adl Regulation was Monday challenged in the Supreme Court on the ground that it was out of sync with Pakistan’s laws.
As is now apparent, the Swat accord is being observed more in its breach than in practice.
On Tuesday, armed groups entered the Rural Health Centre at Jure in the Salarzai area and took away a Land Cruiser being used by the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI).
Earlier, the militants April 17 raided a basic health unit in Chamla tehsil and looted 480 cans of edible oil. They took away from the house of a lady health visitor a large number of food and nutrition packets supplied by USAID and sewing machines from an Action Aid sponsored vocational centre in the Korea village of tehsil Chamla.
- Swat Taliban move closer to Islamabad (Lead) - Apr 22, 2009
- Taliban just 100 km from Islamabad (Roundup) - Apr 22, 2009
- Swat Taliban extends operation, occupies Buner - Apr 22, 2009
- Pak Govt. will revisit Swat accord if law and order is affected: Gilani - Apr 22, 2009
- Swat accord can be re-looked: Gilani - Apr 22, 2009
- Trial of 3,000 militants begin Aug 1 in Pakistan - Jun 09, 2010
- Sharia verdicts cannot be challenged in Supreme Court: cleric - Apr 16, 2009
- Pakistan's Taliban agrees to leave Buner - Apr 24, 2009
- Only provincial government can appoint Sharia judges: Minister - May 04, 2009
- After Swat, Taliban intends to spread influence over rest of Pakistan: CSM - Apr 16, 2009
- Sharia for Swat challenged in Supreme Court (Second Lead) - Apr 21, 2009
- Pakistani Taliban commander dead - Sep 20, 2009
- Pakistan steps up offensive against Taliban in Buner - Apr 29, 2009
- Pakistani Taliban planned to target PM, others: Intelligence report - Aug 22, 2009
- Pakistan warns Taliban, US decries 'abdication' to militants (Roundup) - Apr 23, 2009
Tags: bazaars, belligerence, bunkers, businessmen, chief minister, edible oil, food and nutrition, frontier province, gilani, haider khan, militants, north west frontier, nwfp, oil containers, peace accord, peace council, police stations, radical cleric, tribal elders, yousuf