The Talibani Age of Darkness in Pakistan under Islamist Gun Fire

m_id_72624_taliban

Taliban vow to enforce Shariah throughout Pakistan

Posted: Monday , Apr 20, 2009 at 1348 hrs IST
Islamabad:
A resurgent Taliban in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley on Monday vowed to enforce Islamic laws across the country while ruling out the possibility of laying down arms following the implementation of Shariah in the region.
The Shariah or Islamic law regime approved recently by President Asif Ali Zardari will not be confined to Malakand division, which includes Swat, and the Taliban wants the system to be enforced in other parts of Pakistan, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said on Monday.
“(Shariah) is not only for Malakand division, it is for all humanity, for all Muslims. So we will go more for implementation of Quran, Shariah-e-Muhammadi, not only in Malakand division (but) other parts of Pakistan also,” Khan told ‘Dawn News’ channel in an interview.
He was responding to a question on whether the Taliban believed they had achieved their goal following the federal government’s approval for enforcing Shariah in Swat.
Islamic laws were enforced in Swat, located just 160 km from Islamabad, after religious hardliner Sufi Muhammad initiated peace talks with Taliban on behalf of government.
Asked about Sufi Muhammad’s assurance that the Taliban in Swat would surrender their weapons once Shariah is enforced in the region, Khan replied: “We don’t know about that because we are Pashtuns and any Pashtun has a gun”.
He indicated that Taliban would lay down arms only if the Islamic courts in Swat asked them to do so. “If the Shariah regulation will call (on) us that Taliban you keep your arms, we will keep (them). If the order from Qazi courts is no, we will say no,” Khan, who spoke in broken English, said.

The Taliban spokesman questioned why no one was asking for the disarming of “US forces” who were allegedly in Pakistan and killing Muslims.
“We are Muslims. If somebody is coming to kill my brother, we will stay… in Afghanistan and the Pashtun areas.
You are asking me to lay down my arms and nobody (is) asking the Americans. Why?” he asked.
Khan said the implementation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, which envisages the enforcement of Shariah in Swat and Malakand, is the responsibility of Sufi Muhammad, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi.
The Taliban will keep an eye on the progress made in this regard, he indicated.
The militant spokesman also dismissed criticism of the Shariah regime in Swat by Western powers, including the US. “We don’t care about the reaction of the government in Pakistan, other foreigners and the international community. We don’t care (about) that,” he asserted.
Khan also said the Pakistani Taliban wanted all Muslims to work for the creation of a “caliphate” comprising all Islamic nations.
Asked if he had a message for Muslims, he replied, “For Muslims it is necessary to come and make a caliphate, one army, one Shariah-e-Muhammadi, one currency and make unity.
“Like the 52 states of America, we should be 56 states of Muslims and we have to make one unity,” Khan added.
Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah, the son-in-law of Sufi Muhammad, now control most parts of Swat, which till two years ago was a popular tourist destination.
The militants openly patrol roads in the area and have barred women from venturing out of their homes unless they are accompanied by male relatives.
The militants have directed men to wear skull caps and stop shaving their beards. They have also torched or blown up nearly 200 girls’ schools.
Fazlullah regularly issues edicts on his illegal radio station and Sufi Muhammad yesterday told a gathering of thousands in Swat that democracy is an “un-Islamic” system.
Source : Indian Express||20.04.2009

Taliban wrath on couple
– Militants gun down Pak duo on ‘adultery’ charges

Islamabad, April 18 (PTI): A man and a woman, who were accused of committing adultery, were gunned down by the Taliban in northwest Pakistan a few days ago.
The chilling video footage of the execution was sent to the Dawn newspaper yesterday. It shows a Taliban firing squad killing the man and woman, both apparently in their forties, after accusing them of adultery.
They were shot dead in the presence of their relatives. The newspaper quoted its sources as saying that the incident took place in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province. The execution comes just two weeks after a video of a teenage girl being flogged by militants in the Swat Valley sent shockwaves across Pakistan.
In the new video, the woman is heard appealing to the Taliban militants for mercy. “Have mercy on me, please have mercy. The charges against me are false and no man has ever touched me,” she is heard saying.
The militants first pumped several bullets into the woman’s chest and then fired a burst from their assault rifles at her and the man. Seeing that the woman was still alive after being shot, some militants are heard shouting: “She is alive, kill her.”
Pakistani leaders and rights activists had condemned the public flogging of teenager Chand Bibi in the Swat Valley. Her ordeal was filmed in a two-minute mobile phone video.
It showed the burqa-clad 17-year-old girl being held face down on the ground by three men while a fourth whipped her repeatedly. A large crowd of men watched the flogging, which reportedly occurred in the Matta area of Swat a few weeks ago.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered an inquiry into the matter and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the issue and sought regular reports from the government on the probe.
However, interior secretary Kamal Shah told a news conference at Saidu Sharief in Swat yesterday that an investigation team had concluded that the earlier video was fake.
The team, headed by a senior police official, had submitted a report on its probe that will be handed over to the apex court, he said. The team said no incident of flogging had occurred, Shah said.
Source : The Telegraph, Calcutta||19/04/09

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3 Responses to “The Talibani Age of Darkness in Pakistan under Islamist Gun Fire”

  1. mir alam Says:

    “The people of Pakistan are psychologically ready for a Taliban revolution”
    Taliban Exploit Class Rifts to Gain Ground in Pakistan

    By JANE PERLEZ and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH
    Published: April 16, 2009

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Taliban have advanced deeper into Pakistan by engineering a class revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants, according to government officials and analysts here.

    The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed this week, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, particularly the militants’ main goal, the populous heartland of Punjab Province.

    In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

    To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said.

    The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

    “This was a bloody revolution in Swat,” said a senior Pakistani official who oversees Swat, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Taliban. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan.”

    The Taliban’s ability to exploit class divisions adds a new dimension to the insurgency and is raising alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal.

    Unlike India after independence in 1947, Pakistan maintained a narrow landed upper class that kept its vast holdings while its workers remained subservient, the officials and analysts said. Successive Pakistani governments have since failed to provide land reform and even the most basic forms of education and health care. Avenues to advancement for the vast majority of rural poor do not exist.

    Analysts and other government officials warn that the strategy executed in Swat is easily transferable to Punjab, saying that the province, where militant groups are already showing strength, is ripe for the same social upheavals that have convulsed Swat and the tribal areas.

    Mahboob Mahmood, a Pakistani-American lawyer and former classmate of President Obama’s, said, “The people of Pakistan are psychologically ready for a revolution.”

    Sunni militancy is taking advantage of deep class divisions that have long festered in Pakistan, he said. “The militants, for their part, are promising more than just proscriptions on music and schooling,” he said. “They are also promising Islamic justice, effective government and economic redistribution.”

    The Taliban strategy in Swat, an area of 1.3 million people with fertile orchards, vast plots of timber and valuable emerald mines, unfolded in stages over five years, analysts said.

    The momentum of the insurgency built in the past two years, when the Taliban, reinforced by seasoned fighters from the tribal areas with links to Al Qaeda, fought the Pakistani Army to a standstill, said a Pakistani intelligence agent who works in the Swat region.

    The insurgents struck at any competing point of power: landlords and elected leaders — who were usually the same people — and an underpaid and unmotivated police force, said Khadim Hussain, a linguistics and communications professor at Bahria University in Islamabad, the capital.

    At the same time, the Taliban exploited the resentments of the landless tenants, particularly the fact that they had many unresolved cases against their bosses in a slow-moving and corrupt justice system, Mr. Hussain and residents who fled the area said.

    Their grievances were stoked by a young militant, Maulana Fazlullah, who set up an FM radio station in 2004 to appeal to the disenfranchised. The broadcasts featured easy-to-understand examples using goats, cows, milk and grass. By 2006, Mr. Fazlullah had formed a ragtag force of landless peasants armed by the Taliban, said Mr. Hussain and former residents of Swat.

    At first, the pressure on the landlords was subtle. One landowner was pressed to take his son out of an English-speaking school offensive to the Taliban. Others were forced to make donations to the Taliban.

    Then, in late 2007, Shujaat Ali Khan, the richest of the landowners, his brothers and his son, Jamal Nasir, the mayor of Swat, became targets.

    After Shujaat Ali Khan, a senior politician in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, narrowly missed being killed by a roadside bomb, he fled to London. A brother, Fateh Ali Mohammed, a former senator, left, too, and now lives in Islamabad. Mr. Nasir also fled.

    Later, the Taliban published a “most wanted” list of 43 prominent names, said Muhammad Sher Khan, a landlord who is a politician with the Pakistan Peoples Party, and whose name was on the list. All those named were ordered to present themselves to the Taliban courts or risk being killed, he said. “When you know that they will hang and kill you, how will you dare go back there?” Mr. Khan, hiding in Punjab, said in a telephone interview. “Being on the list meant ‘Don’t come back to Swat.’ ”

    One of the main enforcers of the new order was Ibn-e-Amin, a Taliban commander from the same area as the landowners, called Matta. The fact that Mr. Amin came from Matta, and knew who was who there, put even more pressure on the landowners, Mr. Hussain said.

    According to Pakistani news reports, Mr. Amin was arrested in August 2004 on suspicion of having links to Al Qaeda and was released in November 2006. Another Pakistani intelligence agent said Mr. Amin often visited a madrasa in North Waziristan, the stronghold of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, where he apparently received guidance.

    Each time the landlords fled, their tenants were rewarded. They were encouraged to cut down the orchard trees and sell the wood for their own profit, the former residents said. Or they were told to pay the rent to the Taliban instead of their now absentee bosses.

    Two dormant emerald mines have reopened under Taliban control. The militants have announced that they will receive one-third of the revenues.

    Since the Taliban fought the military to a truce in Swat in February, the militants have deepened their approach and made clear who is in charge.

    When provincial bureaucrats visit Mingora, Swat’s capital, they must now follow the Taliban’s orders and sit on the floor, surrounded by Taliban bearing weapons, and in some cases wearing suicide bomber vests, the senior provincial official said.

    In many areas of Swat the Taliban have demanded that each family give up one son for training as a Taliban fighter, said Mohammad Amad, executive director of a nongovernmental group, the Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis.

    A landlord who fled with his family last year said he received a chilling message last week. His tenants called him in Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province, which includes Swat, to tell him his huge house was being demolished, he said in an interview here.

    The most crushing news was about his finances. He had sold his fruit crop in advance, though at a quarter of last year’s price. But even that smaller yield would not be his, his tenants said, relaying the Taliban message. The buyer had been ordered to give the money to the Taliban instead.

    Not only the Pakistanis, some pro-Pakistani Indians and anti-Indians are also ready to accept the religion of Talibans to be a proper Islamists.

  2. _joey_ Says:

    This blog’s where its happenning. Keep up the good work.

  3. mrred Says:

    Love this blog. I’ll be back when I have more time.

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