Pak Government setting wrong precedent by imposing Sharia in Swat

February 17th, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by ANI  


Islamabad, Feb 17 (ANI): Pakistan Governments decision to impose Sharia in areas of Swat Valley in order to strike a peace deal with militants is a wrong precedent and will not be able to calm the conflict, according to observers.

Islamabads faltering military campaign in Swat has been put on hold, and the militants have agreed to a tentative ceasefire. The government decision has set a worrying precedent one that will surely displease some US officials who want Pakistan to take a harder line against militants, Time magazine reported.

NWFP Chef Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti said on Monday that Shari”a law would be introduced throughout the Malakand division, which includes the Swat Valley. The Taliban have tentatively welcomed the decision, announcing a 10-day ceasefire.

According to the terms of the agreement, all non-Sharia laws have been abrogated in Malakand. The agreement, which enjoys the support of President Asif Ali Zardari and the army, came about after talks with Islamist leader Sufi Mohammed Fazlullahs father-in-law and rival.

Government officials argue that by imposing Sharia law they are merely bowing to what is a popular local demand. By stealing a march on Fazlullah, the government believes that it can now wean supporters away, isolate the militants, and with Sufi Mohammeds help, restore peace.

It is, however, a highly controversial and risky course. A previous peace deal failed within months, after giving the militants the space to regroup and sweep away earlier military gains.

It is an attempt on the part of the government to win over a section of religious extremists, says Hasan Askari-Rizvi, a military analyst.

The idea is that if they are pulled out of the struggle, they will cooperate with the government and help isolate the militants. It may have been a good idea if the Taliban were on the run, but theyre well entrenched, Time quoted Rizvi, as saying. (ANI)

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