Taliban leader Sufi Mohammad leads a peace march in Swat

February 18th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Mingora, Feb. 18 (ANI): Thousands of men marched for peace in Pakistan’’s troubled Valley. The march was led by Sufi Mohammad, the man who signed a deal to enforce Sharias law to end a bloody insurgency. I have come here to establish peace and I will not leave until this mission is achieved, Sufi Mohammad told people in Mingora. About 15,000 people participated in the march in the crowd, waving black and white flags. The cleric advised them to recite only Quranic verses. The elderly cleric walked behind several rows of followers, who were mostly bearded and sporting black turbans. Mohammad, who was wearing a black waistcoat and white shalwar kamiz avoided the gaze of television cameras as he walked. Local gathered to greet Mohammad, who was jailed in Pakistan for six years after returning from Afghanistan where he led thousands of supporters to fight against US-led troops who toppled the Taliban in 2001. The controversial deal between Mohammad and the Pakistani Government to enforce sharia law has sparked concern in the International community. The cleric left Mingora later Wednesday for the nearby town of Matta, where he was hoping to meet Taliban firebrand, Maulana Fazlullah and other Taliban leaders to persuade them to disarm, according to his spokesman Amir Izzat. No date for any meeting has been announced. Fazlullah led his two-year bloody campaign to enforce sharia in Swat, while his father-in-law Mohammad was languished in a Pakistani jail. Thousands of Fazlullah’’s men have spent two years beheading opponents, bombing schools, outlawing entertainment and fighting government forces in Swat, a former ski resort, causing tens of thousands of people to flee. It remains unclear how much influence Mohammad can bring to bear over his firebrand son-in-law, who is believed to have around 3,000 armed followers. (ANI)

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