Taliban agrees to ‘permanent ceasefire’ in Swat (Lead)

February 21st, 2009 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 21 (IANS) In what is seen as a major breakthrough, the Pakistani Taliban Saturday agreed to a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s restive northwestern Swat Valley, reports from the area said.
This follows a deal between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) of radical cleric Sufi Muhammad Feb 16 on imposing Shariat laws in seven districts of the province, including the Swat Valley, where the Taliban’s writ largely runs.

Following this, the cleric led a delegation to Swat for talks with his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, who heads the local Taliban in the area, to persuade the militants to day down their arms.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who had Feb 8 approved the signing of the NWFP-TNSM deal, had said he would endorse it only if peace returned to the Swat Valley.

Both India and the US have slammed the deal, which they fear will provide the militants space to regroup and renew their attacks in the region.

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