Islamist leader reaches Swat for talks with Taliban (Lead)

February 17th, 2009 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 17 (IANS) Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the chief of an Islamist group that has entered into a deal with the government to implement Sharia laws in parts of Pakistan’s troubled northwest, has reached the region’s Swat Valley to hold talks with the Taliban for restoring peace in the area.
The Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) chief is heading a delegation that would meet local Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, who is also his son-in-law, for restoring peace and disarming the insurgents in the region, Geo TV reported Tuesday.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad would remain in Swat till the restoration of calm, the report quoted the TNSM spokesperson Ameer Izzat Khan as saying.

He said that Muhammad would hold public gatherings in the valley to persuade the people, particularly those who had picked up arms, to stop fighting after the government Nizam-e-Adl regulation had been promulgated.

Muhammad and the North West Frontier Province government Sunday signed an agreement to enforce Sharia laws in Malakand division, which comprises Swat and its adjoining areas bordering Afghanistan.

Following the agreement, the insurgents announced a 10-day ceasefire in the insurgency-hit Swat Valley, once Pakistan’s most popular holiday destination.

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