Pakistan to end military operation and implement sharia in Malakand Division


Click map for full view. Taliban presence, by district and tribal agency, the Northwest Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies. Information on Taliban presence obtained from open source and derived by The Long War Journal based on the presence of Taliban shadow governments, levels of fighting, and reports from the region. Map created by Bill Raymond for The Long War Journal.

The Pakistani government has negotiated an agreement with the Taliban in the war-torn district of Swat to end the fighting in exchange for the implementation of sharia, or Islamic law in a large region of the Northwest Frontier Province.

Negotiations on the five-point agreement have been conducted between the government of the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province and Sufi Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law, and Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban and Sufi's son-in-law.

The provincial government agreed to allow for the implementation of sharia law the entire Malakand Division, a large region in the Northwest Frontier Province made up of the districts of Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, and Chitral, Geo News reported. The government agreed to end the military operation in Swat and participate in the "rebuilding process," ARY Television reported. Girls schools, which have been savaged by the Taliban and forced to close, will be reopened.

Sufi Mohammed's Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law will be at the forefront of establishing a new political administration in Swat, according to the according to the ARY Television report. He "will pave public opinion for a new local administration, to be established in Swat, by holding public gatherings throughout the district."

Other parties have been advocating for the implementation of sharia. Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, or the Pakistan Movement for Justice, called for the government to allow for sharia law not just in the tribal areas and the northwest, but throughout the country. Khan and his party are considered moderate by some observers of Pakistan.

"The government must devise new policy to safeguard the interest of Pakistan rather than the US in the region," Khan said, while criticizing the government for allowing Predator strikes to be launched against al Qaeda and the Taliban from its territory. "On one hand the government is carrying out drone attacks on its own people while shedding crocodile tears on the other," Khan said, referring to the recent disclosure by a US senator that the US is operating Predators strike aircraft from Pakistani soil.

Three large protests were held in Swat and Peshawar, the provincial capital, advocating for sharia. University student protested in Peshawar, while a local non-governmental organization called the "International Human Rights Commission" demanded the immediate implementation of sharia in Swat.

The current agreement to implement sharia in the Malakand Division and end the fighting in Swat mirrors a similar deal that was agreed upon by the same parties just 10 months ago. On April 22, 2008, Sufi was freed from prison in exchange for the implementation of sharia and an end to the fighting in Swat.

Taliban-Leadership-Image.jpg

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

The deal collapsed over the summer. Sufi's followers and the Swat Taliban claimed the government failed to allow for the implementation of sharia, while the Swat Taliban continued to attack police and military forces in Swat and throughout the region. Another peace agreement signed between Fazlullah and the government in May 2007 also failed.

Pakistani forces have been fighting Islamist aligned with Fazlullah since November 2007. Fazlullah runs the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law in Swat and merged with Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in December 2007.

The Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law (Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammad or TNSM) is known as the "Pakistani Taliban." This group is 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's forces were decimated in US airstrikes and he was arrested after returning to Pakistan. His group was later banned.

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. He advocates sharia and violence against the government on broadcasts on his illegal FM radio.

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

The TNSM also holds sway in other war zones in Pakistan's northwest. Faqir Mohammed is the leader of the TNSM in the Bajaur tribal agency. The military has failed to defeat Faqir's forces despite waging a brutal military operation that began in July 2008. Bajaur is a stronghold for the TNSM and serves as a major hub for al Qaeda and Taliban operations in eastern Afghanistan. The joint al Qaeda and Taliban Shadow Army has conducted operations alongside Faqir and Fazlullah's forces in Bajaur and Swat.

The peace agreement will ease the pressure on the Taliban in Bajaur, provide a safe haven neighboring areas, and allow the Taliban and allied extremist to concentrate forces in the tribal agency.


For additional information on the situation in Swat, see:

Taliban capture, release 30 security personnel in Swat
Feb. 4, 2009
Pakistani forces regain control of region in Swat
Feb. 1, 2009
Swat Taliban summon government officials to sharia courts'
Jan. 25, 2009
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: "Pakistan to end military operation and implement sharia in Malakand Division"

Posted by trac at February 15, 2009 1:00 PM ET:

Whats the definition of idiocy? Pakistan's lackluster effort at stopping their homegrown dilemma. So if a sovereign government is unable to stop an insurgency that uses terrorist tactics internationally, is it time to solve the problem for them.... and us..... and India..... and Afghan.....?????
Wonder what all the 2nd and 3rd order effects will be like?

Posted by remoteman at February 15, 2009 1:16 PM ET:

This will certainly send a lot of $$ to the fundamenalist bigwigs in this area, which will, in turn, enable them to entrench themselves in a position of power. While their rule will likely be harsh and chafe upon the populace, probably to the point of hatred, there will be no countervailing force to destabilize/unseat them.

The Pak government has essentially ceded these territories and, in effect, declared that they have no control whatsoever over them. I think we are witness to the now middle stages of the ultimate demise of the state of Pakistan.

Posted by Raven at February 15, 2009 1:22 PM ET:

Trac:

Ravi at orbat.com has written first of a series in some scenarios that could be played out. I would think planners from many countries are busy hashing out the options. At some point of time, we can expect Taliban/AQ to attack Islamabad and may be Indian Kashmir, too. Would Pak Army support Taliban/AQ or support their nation remains to be seen.

Posted by David at February 15, 2009 4:34 PM ET:

Sharpening your own guillotine. Nice.

Posted by Vishal Bhatia at February 15, 2009 9:20 PM ET:

What is really surprising is that even though such deals haven't worked in the past, the Government of Pakistan is going ahead with it.

Posted by Arieh Fürth at February 16, 2009 3:31 PM ET:

A Pakistani Muenchen (Munic). Some people never learn from history

Posted by Bill longley at February 16, 2009 10:16 PM ET:

good step taken by govt... when ppl of swat want sharia...then no Tom, Dick or Harry has right to oppose them...

Now taliban in swat has nothing to sell in malakand and people support for them will end

Posted by bard207 at February 16, 2009 10:56 PM ET:

Bill Longley


good step taken by govt... when ppl of swat want sharia...then no Tom, Dick or Harry has right to oppose them...

Now taliban in swat has nothing to sell in malakand and people support for them will end

I reread Bill's report on this topic and found this paragraph.


Negotiations on the five-point agreement have been conducted between the government of the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province and Sufi Mohammed,
the spiritual leader of the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law, and Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban and Sufi's son-in-law..

When did Sufi Mohammed and Mullah Fazullah get elected by the citizens of Swat and the entire Malakand Division? Sufi Mohammed and Mullah Fazullah made some very important decisions that will impact the population of Malakand Division, so they should be elected by the citizens from those areas.

Posted by Bill longley at February 17, 2009 12:09 AM ET:

brad

i am a Proud Pakistani...and work for a news channel... as journalist i meet people and get first hand information.... since joing Pakistan in 1969 people of SWAT were asking for Sharia.... taliban were haveing support on point of sharia from masses.......
ITS ONLY IMPERIAL THINKING TO DEPRIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT....

IF GOVT HAD FOLLOWED US OR WEST....THAN TNSM WOULD HAVE GAINED MORE SUPPORT AND IN RERACTION PEOPLE LOSE THEIR SENCE OF JUSTICE.

Posted by Viliger at February 17, 2009 1:38 AM ET:

Longley:
I read your last comment addressed to 'Brad'--btw he is Bard and not Brad....since you don't like the Americans very much, you should spend less time watching american movies and more time reading Shakespeare.

I hope you're not implying that the taliban has been around since 1969 and/or been supporting the introduction of sharia through the political process of pakistan or indeed the region!

What a great model for the rest of pakistan! you need help! If you're on the right side of global civilisation, work within it's reality, without feeling inferior.

Posted by Bill longley at February 17, 2009 2:08 AM ET:

villiger

sorry friend you talk with superiority complex

why dont you realize why iran underwent revolution?
then compare the situation in pakistan with situation before iranian revolution...
i am muslim and proud of my identity.... i dont dislike america or americans.... its their forign policy...My Prophet has Said" dont hate a person hate his evil...."

i stated earlier fanaticism is the biggest threat which Pakistan ever faced.....
but again we have to see reasons behind it...

prior to 79 soviat invasion we were ignorant of jehadi terror... at that time US was financeing Takfiri groups like Akhwan ul muslimoon etc to counter soviats and nassarism...
it was US and its allies who facilitated terrorists like aiman al zawaheri etc to fight Soviats and thousands of commentries of Quran written with jehadi ideology were published in US and distributed free in pakistan by CIA...

my friend we have to see where we committed mistakes and for what reason.... selfish strategic Intrests....lust for Power...

Posted by Micah at February 17, 2009 4:14 AM ET:

Anyone know what this entails for things like DVD shops in towns like Mingora? Who is enforcing the Shariah courts and running them? Is it like the previous agreement where the government agreed to carry out the Shariah legal system with its own appointed individuals? Or will Faizlullah's men be running the show?

Posted by bard207 at February 17, 2009 4:51 AM ET:

Bill Longley

Here is a repeat of my earlier question that you refused to answer:


When did Sufi Mohammed and Mullah Fazullah get elected by the citizens of Swat and the entire Malakand Division?

Posted by Bill longley at February 17, 2009 5:51 AM ET:

he is not a politician ....he is a cleric and has great influence in dir,malkand and bajor

Posted by Don Ramsay at February 17, 2009 5:52 AM ET:

he is not a politician ....he is a cleric and has great influence in dir,malkand and bajor

Posted by bard207 at February 17, 2009 6:12 AM ET:

Bill Longley

he is not a politician ....he is a cleric and has great influence in dir,malkand and bajor

I know that he is a cleric and you keep mising the point.

Based on the huge flow of refugees from areas such as Swat, it appear that many citizens have actually voted in regards to their approval or disapproval of things being done by the Taliban and their interpretation of Shariah.

Since the Taliban did not afford the citizens the courtesy of a ballot box to vote for stringent Shariah, the citizens chose the only other way available to vote which was with their feet.

Foot Voting

In demographics, foot voting describes the tendency of people to "vote with their feet", that is to migrate when they perceive situations to be more beneficial elsewhere. It is also used as an analogy to describe shifting political or commercial allegiances.

Posted by viliger at February 17, 2009 7:47 AM ET:

Longley:
You say.."he is not a politician ....he is a cleric and has great influence in dir,malkand and bajor"

So are not Sufi Mohammed and his son-in-law, Fazlullah fanatics, that you say are "the biggest threat which Pakistan ever faced....."

Are they not part of the Pkistani Taliban? Have they not terrorised the people in the region, and your Govt, into submission?

Bill Longley, the longer you stay stuck in Soviet-era history, the shorter your recognition of today's reality. The Pakistani chickens are coming home to roost. The americans have been your ally forever so why do you now consider them to be imperialists? You don't even have the oil that iran or iraq have!

I don't have a superiority complex, perhaps a security complex. As you say the biggest, real and present, threat to pakistan is also the biggest threat to the world, for you have nuclear weapons amidst your instability.

With all your non-state territories inflamed, Pakistan needs to be de-nuked urgently, for your own good as much as the worlds'. My apologies if i sound patronizing.

Posted by Bangash Khan at February 17, 2009 10:22 AM ET:

viligier:

Reading news on the internet can frighten people and make them support crazy causes, like war in iraq because iraq was "biggest security threat". calm down.

The current democratically elected govt of Pakistan views negotiations and peace deals as final solutions to insurgency. That was also their campaign promise and views. So if you don't like it then support dictatorship in Pakistan.

Also we Pakistanis are not going to let you steal our nukes. They are for our protection against India.

Posted by Abheek at February 17, 2009 11:41 AM ET:

Bangash Khan you say
Also we Pakistanis are not going to let you steal our nukes. They are for our protection against India.

26/11 and all the violence perpetuated by Paki supported terrorist is sure enuf a reason for you to be afraid of India. But ask yourself a question - Do you really think your nukes would be enuf protection against the anger thats searing inside us Indians for spilling blood of so many innocent Indians. The answer is no.


Posted by bard207 at February 17, 2009 12:25 PM ET:

Bangash Khan

That was also their campaign promise and views. So if you don't like it then support dictatorship in Pakistan.

Past Dictatorships in Pakistan have been less than impressive. Overall, Pakistan has had less than inspiring leadership over the years.

---------------------------------------------------------

Also we Pakistanis are not going to let you steal our nukes. They are for our protection against India.

Over the past decade, Pakistan has lost more lives and control of terrority to their own militants than to India. Yet, there is the continued Pakistani paranoia about the huge threat that India represents. It is strongly suggested by many that Pakistan needs to redo its threat assessments.

----------------------------------------------------------

The current democratically elected govt of Pakistan views negotiations and peace deals as final solutions to insurgency.

Really? Either the Daily Times is bogus or you are spreading misinformation and/or confused.

Force only option to end militancy, says Zardari

ISLAMABAD: The government has no alternative except to use force against the Taliban to end militancy in the country, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday while vowing to eliminate the insurgents.

...
The participants expressed satisfaction with the ongoing fight against the Taliban, and vowed to
continue until the Taliban had been removed and the government's writ had been restored.

Posted by Render at February 18, 2009 12:02 PM ET:

"...steal our nukes."

Now why would we want your non-functional nukes? Ours are better, they actually work as designed.

We don't want your oil, unless you want to sell it to us.

We don't want your land, we have enough of our own.

We don't want your souls, or your blood. Your religious Reformation while needed, is not our problem. You deal with it.

We don't want your people, except for the al-Q pukes and their Talib allies. Them we want, in the ground.

Oh and we want you to stop killing Jews.

Not too very much to ask, is it?

PASS
THE
WORD,
R

Posted by flyonthewall at February 18, 2009 7:15 PM ET:

I echo Render. Nuff said