Swat Taliban summon government officials to sharia courts


Taliban-Leadership-Image.jpg

Mullah Fazlullah. Click image to view the slideshow of the Taliban Leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The leader of the Taliban-controlled district of Swat in Pakistan's northwest has ordered more than 50 political and tribal leaders to appear before a sharia court within a week or face "dangerous consequences."

Mullah Fazlullah, Swat's radical Taliban leader, issued the order in a broadcast over his illegal FM radio channel after convening the Taliban shura, or council.

"They (the political leaders) have destroyed peace in Swat and they should be tried in the Taliban's sharia courts," Fazlullah said in the radio broadcast, according to a report in The Hindu. "If they do not appear in the courts, they will face dangerous consequences."

Fazlullah ordered political leaders in the Northwest Frontier Province, including members of the provincial and national assemblies, provincial ministers, the mayor of Mingora, and leaders of the Awami National Party, the Pakistan People's Party, the Pakistan People's Party, the Pakistani Muslim League - Qaid, and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and Islamist party. Tribal elders were also summoned to appear before the shura. [see list]

The Taliban declared sharia law throughout Swat and have dispensed punishments ranging from public whippings to beheadings.

Late last week, Fazlullah offered "conditional amnesty for social and political workers and public representatives from target[ed] killings" if they promised to halt opposition to the Taliban rule in Swat. Members of the provincial and national assemblies have been excluded from the amnesty. The offer was also made on Fazlullah's illegal radio station.

The federal government admitted the Swat, neighboring Shangla, and several other districts outside of the tribal areas are under Taliban control. The Taliban have control over the district of Swat save the main town of Mingora, which is under siege.

The military has failed to suppress the Taliban insurgency. The police have been rendered ineffective due to assassinations and desertions, while the Army has been incapable of defeating the Taliban. More than 70 police and 120 soldiers were killed in Swat last year.

The Taliban have conducted a wave of targeted assassinations against tribal leaders and politicians in Swat. Local, provincial and federal politicians have fled their homes after the Taliban conducted attacks against their homes and murdered their families. Most recently, the leader of a tribal group opposed to the Taliban was murdered and his body was descecrated as a warning to others.

Pakistani forces have been fighting forces aligned with Fazlullah, a radical cleric of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM - the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law) for almost two years.

The TNSM is known as the "Pakistani Taliban" and is the group behind the ideological inspiration for the Afghan Taliban. The TNSM sent more than 10,000 fighters into Afghanistan to fight US forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001. Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the TNSM, was released from a Pakistani jail in a failed peace agreement with the Swat Taliban.

Fazlullah merged with Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban, or the movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in December 2007.

Fazlullah has successfully organized a campaign opposing polio vaccinations and has forced the closure girls' schools throughout the region. More than 200 schools have been destroy in Swat since fighting began in 2007.

The fighting has destroyed Swat's once thriving tourist industry. Fazlullah's forces have burned down the popular ski lodge and bombed the lifts.


For additional information on the fall of Swat, see:

Taliban rule Pakistan's 'valley of death'
Jan. 23, 2009
Pakistan 'lost control' in Swat
Dec. 6, 2008
Taliban rampage in Pakistan's Swat district
June 27, 2008
Pakistani government inks peace deal with Swat Taliban
May 21, 2008
Swat joins 'Talibanistan'
July 7, 2007



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READER COMMENTS: "Swat Taliban summon government officials to sharia courts"

Posted by Russell E. at January 26, 2009 11:34 AM ET:

I imagine those "dangerous consequences" for not showing apply to those who also show. Savages.

Posted by indus at January 26, 2009 1:24 PM ET:

Huh. A supposed venomous pet snake (Taliban) calling the tune on the snake charmer (Pakistan, including its army and ISI). Who would not have thunk (as against thought) of it!

Posted by David M at January 26, 2009 1:25 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/26/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by KW64 at January 26, 2009 5:06 PM ET:

Remember when the Pope summoned Jan Hus to a religious trial and he was guaranteed his safety? He got burned at the stake. The lesson is as Ogden Nash said:

WHEN CALLED BY A PANTHER-- DON'T ANTHER

Posted by Marlin at January 27, 2009 8:33 AM ET:

The question is, "Will he now act on his convictions"?

A day after 43 officials were summoned to Taliban courts for opposing the group - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Monday that a parallel Taliban judiciary is unacceptable. "We will not accept a policy like this," Gilani told reporters after attending the inaugural session of a conference on medical education.

Daily Times: Gilani says Taliban courts unacceptable

Posted by Marlin at January 27, 2009 8:40 AM ET:

I have my doubts that the Pakistani military will be able to successfully use this technology in such a way as to make a meaningful difference in Swat.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Athar Abbas on Monday said the military was acquiring the latest technology to jam the illegal radio transmissions of the Swat Taliban, a private TV channel reported. The ISPR spokesman told the channel that the Taliban's FM radio transmitters were mobile and could not be destroyed immediately. However, Abbas said, the acquisition of the technology would help block the illegal transmissions.

Daily Times: 'Army getting jammers for Taliban radio'

Posted by ED at January 28, 2009 6:58 PM ET:

QUESTION HOW HARD WOULD IT BE TO ACQUIRE THE SIGNAL FROM ONE OF THESE MOBLE TRANSMITTERS AND SEND A MISSLE THERE WAY?

CALLER ON LINE ONE. BZZZZZ

Posted by Rhyno327 at January 29, 2009 9:39 AM ET:

These tribesman have families, extended clans, alot of people. They must hate this guy, why can't we draw a bead on him and his psycho-moslem friends? I would think the intel services would jump all over this. "Yes, of course, we will show up, where and when?" It may not work this way, but if I knew some gang was gonna kill my father, my brother etc., I would want to hit them first. These men are "dead men walking"...just a solid tip, and maybe we bag these swine.