Pakistani forces enter cleric Sufi Mohammad’s village

April 25th, 2009 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 25 (IANS) Pakistani security forces Saturday entered Kalpani, the ancestral village of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad in the northwest but the move was apparently not linked to his threat to impose Sharia laws across the country.
Security forces have started consolidating their positions and military gunships were flying over the area, Geo TV reported, quoting well-placed sources as saying the government had declared the area sensitive due to increasing cases of kidnapping for ransom and other crimes.

Fear had gripped the people of the area soon after the arrival of security forces, the channel said.

The village lies in Dir district of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). It shares its western border with Afghanistan and its eastern border with NWFP’s Swat district.

Sufi Mohammad had Feb 16 brokered a controversial peace deal with the NWFP government under which Sharia laws would be imposed in Swat and six other districts of the province in return for the Taliban who control much of the area laying down their arms.

The National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament approved the deal April 13, President Asif Ali Zardari ratified it the same night and the Sharia laws came into force two days later.

Sufi Mohammad then upped the ante, demanding that Darul Qazas or Islamic appellate courts be established to hear challenges to the orders of the Qazi courts that would be set up under the Sharia laws.

He said the appeals could not be heard by the existing judicial institutions - the NWFP High Court and the Supreme Court - as they were un-Islamic.

On Thursday, he indefinitely extended the April 23 deadline for establishing the Darul Qazas.

On the same day, he persuaded the Taliban, who had overrun Buner district south of Swat, which lies just 100 km from Islamabad, to withdraw.

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