After negotiating a ceasefire and putting together the framework for the implementation of sharia, or Islamic Law, in the district of Swat, Sufi Mohammed has offered to mediate between the government and the Taliban in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and North and South Waziristan.
The announcement was made as Sufi continues to mediate between the Taliban and the political leaders of the Malakand Division and the district of Kohistan, the PakTribune reported. The Pakistani military and the Taliban agreed to an indefinite ceasefire as the peace agreement, known as the Malakand Accord, is negotiated.
The peace agreement calls for the military to halt operations and return to barracks in exchange for the implementation of sharia in the districts of Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, Chitral, and Kohistan. The Taliban have demanded that its prisoners be released and an amnesty granted for its members. Both sides have halted operations and have begun to dismantle checkpoints. But since the ceasefire was put into effect, the Taliban have kidnapped and released a senior Swat official and prevented a military convoy from entering the town of Mingora.
The Pakistani government currently has peace agreements with the Taliban in North and South Waziristan, where the Taliban have held sway for years and run a parallel government.
In Bajaur, where the fighting has been ongoing since August 2008, the Pakistani military took control of a strategic valley that linked the region to Afghanistan. Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the extremists in Bajaur, declared an indefinite ceasefire earlier this week.
Daily Times reported that Bajaur’s political agent said the military agreed to a 4-day ceasefire. But Major General Tariq Khan, the Inspector General for the Frontier Corps, said in an email to The Long War Journal that the military has not ceased offensive operations. Bajaur’s political agent repeated the claim of a military ceasefire today, Daily Times reported.
Sufi Mohammed is the spiritual leader of the outlawed Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law. He claimed to have eschewed violence after being released from prison in November 2007 as a condition of a similar failed peace agreement in Swat. Sufi led more than 10,000 Pakistanis into Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001. Mullah Fazlullah, the radical anti-government cleric behind the insurgency and terror attacks in Swat, is his son-in-law.
Sufi and the Swat Taliban maintained very close links to the radical administration of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, the pro-Taliban mosque in the heart of Islamabad whose followers enforced sharia and kidnapped policemen just one mile from the seat of government. The Pakistani military stormed the Lal Masjid in July 2007 after a several-month standoff. More than a hundred followers and more than a dozen soldiers were killed in the battle.
In recent interviews, Sufi declared his hatred for democracy and the West, and described Mullah Omar’s regime in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 as “ideal.”
“From the very beginning, I have viewed democracy as a system imposed on us by the infidels. Islam does not allow democracy or elections,” Sufi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur just days before the Malakand Accord was signed. “I believe the Taliban government formed a complete Islamic state, which was an ideal example for other Muslim countries.”
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