Deal in Swat: Good Move or Bad Move?

Posted on February 16, 2009
Filed Under >Jauhar Ismail, Politics, Religion, Society
73 Comments
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Jauhar Ismail

According to a recent Yahoo news update:

The government (of Pakistan) agreed to impose Islamic law and suspend a military offensive across much of northwest Pakistan on Monday in concessions aimed at pacifying the Taliban insurgency spreading from the border region to the country’s interior.

In my opinion, the devil is really in the details and the implementation of this agreement. I have mixed feeling on this: It is hard to see how the situation in Swat can be controlled only through the military means; there has to be a political dimension. This is what the U.S. is also learning the hard way in Afghanistan where there is already a talk of having some sort of adjustment with “moderate Afghan Taliban”.


In an ideal world, you would have hoped that Pakistan army would have gained the upper hand in Swat and then they could have negotiated from the position of strength. Unfortunately this is not the case. Despite several attempts, the army could not make any significant gains in Swat. Part of this is due to bad strategy and partly due the nature of guerrilla-warfare. Pakistan army was never trained to fight a counter-insurgency; fighting against India is what the focus has been so it does’t come as a surprise that it didn’t perform very well.

As far as their strategy goes, it was based primarily on using gunships and (artillery) shelling against suspected militant hide-outs. This approach is not very conducive to counter-insurgency because it leads to a lot of collateral damage. As the U.S. experience in Iraq shows, your mission in such a situation must really be to “secure the population”. This was the fundamental change in strategy that U.S. Gen. David Petraeus made but such a change requires putting a lot of boots on the ground, taking a lot more causalities and better intelligence. Unfortunately the Pak army was unwilling and incapable to take this approach which resulted in the bloody Swat stalemate.

Against this backdrop, the agreement can offer a way out if government can play its cards correctly. It should also be noted that this is not the first time that Swat will be under the so-called Shari’s law. This was the case for decades when Swat/Dir region was part of the princely state and life was governed by “Customary law”. The elected representatives of the Swat region have also been in favor of incorporating some populist militant demands such as Qazi courts and quick and simply justice with a 6 months deadline to process all cases.

One can hope that by incorporating the populist demands and a willingness to understand and work with local sensitivities, the authorities can gain credibility with the local population and take some of the wind out of the insurgency’s sails. I am under no illusion that the likes of Molana Fazlullah will be willing to give up their weapons and stop fighting but hopefully such a agreement will isolate the hard core extremist elements from the deeply conservative local population and deprive them from one of their main arguments. It is a lot easier to deal with insurgents when they don’t enjoy widespread local support.

73 Comments on “Deal in Swat: Good Move or Bad Move?”

  1. syed ali raza says:
    February 16th, 2009 1:52 pm

    this is absurd & unbelievable, succumbing to Terror & appeasing these Barbaric thugs is not the way to go, what kind of Shariat will be imposed ? ,the one which denies the women education & basic human rights & considers Shias as heretics, are u guys kidding your selves ??
    the Pakistani media is cheer leading this thuggery, & it is shameful, if pseudo journalists like Hamid Mir & Mushtaq Minhas are so adamant about imposing the draconian shariah on every one they should be the first ones to be held accountable, by making them grow beards.
    Pakistan is spiraling into mid-evil barbarism, shame on every one who supports it from the comforts of western enclaves!!
    Shame on ANP & Zardari & the Corrupt Pakistani Media!!

  2. syed ali raza says:
    February 16th, 2009 2:01 pm

    so if one can terrorize the local population effectively by beheading & butchering, they can impose what ever form of draconian thuggery !!

    that is the message coming out of Swat & i wish it upon on every one North of Hyderabad, then we will see how every one is going to love the Shariah especially Geo & Aaj Tv!!

  3. PAKISTANI says:
    February 16th, 2009 2:14 pm

    I think this is a sad day. The Taliban thugs have used terror and fear by hanging people on trees and digging people out of graves and cuttings the ears of barbers. If this is their Sharia then I want no part of it. This is a sad day for Pakistan and a sad day for Islam.

  4. ADNAN says:
    February 16th, 2009 2:29 pm

    I can understand ATP’s desire to give give voice to all different voices, but I am disappointed in this post and that ATP would carry such pro-Taliban views. Specially, after this site has so fearlessly been speaking out against the bigotry of these murderers.

    I agree with the main view flashing at the top of the page. PAKISTAN IS AT WAR. And this deal is surrender!

  5. Aamir Ali says:
    February 16th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Why do these politicians shout all the time about Constitution, judiciary, law and democracy when they have bowed their heads to bearded gunmen in Swat and established a Mullah Raj ?

    Then again I always considered Pakistani politicians, media and “civil society” to be a bunch of loud-mouths with no real commitment and backbone.

    My only hope is that the Taliban cannot live with violence and hence this peace agreement will also collapse like all the other agreements conducted with these bearded gunmen groups.

    In the meantime, the army really needs to sit down, strategize and prepare for the next phase of hostilities. A very important question for army leadership will be why they succeeded in Bajaur and failed in Swat?

  6. Nostalgic says:
    February 16th, 2009 4:45 pm

    While I concur with the idea that collateral damage should be minimized and the population “secured” a la Petraeus, I fail to see how the approach couldn’t have been changed without the ceasefire and this shameful deal…

    As for the population being “deeply conservative”, didn’t someone point out recently that the Swatis were proud to send their girls to school, (of which hundreds were blown up by the Taliban, but the presence of hundreds of schools says something), and didn’t they return the ANP to the assemblies last year instead of the MMA? Hardly the hallmarks of a “deeply conservative” region… the amount of beheadings and murders the Taliban have committed hardly point to a population in sync with their views…

    And instead of the government and the army regrouping, this will simply allow the mullahs to do so… this is a humiliating concession both for the government and the army, with the former resorting to this deal and the latter being forced into a stalemate… shame on both… this is not why one was elected and the other nurtured…

    If this is how they plan to behave, I might as well bring out my grandpa’s ancient rifle and sit and wait for when the mullahs come get me… I plan to put up a better fight than this!

  7. j says:
    February 16th, 2009 6:06 pm

    Well, actually this is not something new Shariah/Islamic law being imposed. This system had been in District Swat till 1999 (from the days when Swat used to be princely state). This is just another standard structure that was running smoothly (and is different from the self-created version of Shariah that these barbarians are presenting). I have spent a considerable time in Swat (Last time it was late 2008) and still have numerous acquaintances there. The common people of Swat consider the Nizam-e-Adal, that was in practice there since the days of “Swat State” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swat_(princely_state)) , to be more effective & efficient in their issues as compared to general court system. To re-iterate, this Nizam-e-Adal doesn’t contain any thing like “killing innocent people” etc. etc. stuff.
    I just talked with a couple of friends there and the general perception obviously there is that they have taken a sigh of relief after being in a continuous state of fear and terror. The most affected were the innocent people living there. So, for us it’s easy to say “Don’t surrender”. For them, a compromise is better.
    We are already in deep trouble due to our latest dictator’s “May naa maanouN policy” who out of his brutish-ness mishandled Lal masjid issue whose consequences are what we’re seeing with open eyes today. Not everything should be handled with power especially when it’s the matter of saving your own people!

  8. Junaid says:
    February 16th, 2009 6:08 pm

    “The elected representatives of the Swat region have also been in favor of incorporating some populist militant demands such as Qazi courts and quick and simply justice with a 6 months deadline to process all cases.”

    ^^

    That is some thing the whole Pakistani nation wants. Not just the people of Swat.

    Such demands should be incorporated into every part of the country.

  9. Aamir Ali says:
    February 16th, 2009 6:22 pm

    Lal Masjid was full of criminals who refused to change their ways and rejected all peaceful means. They were punished for it as a result.

    The Swati Taliban are also criminals who refuse to change their ways and reject all peaceful means. The difference is that the govt has surrendered to the Swati Taliban.

    My question is that will this esteemed “Sharia” stary by punishing the Swati Taliban for the enormous crimes they have committed? Or will the Swati Taliban go scott free and be able to boast about bringing Sharia to Swat ?

  10. ShahidnUSA says:
    February 16th, 2009 7:41 pm

    Justice for whom? For those who think that this world is for men only?
    Except few places in Lahore and Karachi, everywhere else I went, I saw men men men or some tired mother rushing to clean homes because she had to feed ten kids at home. I wanted to throw up (vomit, puke).
    They like to call humans, Ashraful makhlookat but they act like animals.
    Although cats are very particular about grooming themselves but they want to be called as lions, the one you dont want to stand next to, without covering your nose.
    No offense to veiled ladies.

  11. adamkhan says:
    February 16th, 2009 7:48 pm

    This argument about Pakistani army not able to do counter insurgency is nothing more than pandering to the men in khaki.

    I ask you, if that is the case then why is it that the Pakistan army does not target the qazi courts that have been established all over Swat? The location is known by common people, as they take their complaints there and the venue is guarded by the Taliban and has Taliban qazis dispensing justice, but our soldiers dont seem to find them?

    Why is it that most of the schools that got destroyed, were destroyed during curfews? when the order was to shoot at sight?

    Why is it that jamming the FM station of Mullah radio has become such an obstacle for our army when any engineer with the basic understanding of this system will tell you that blocking it is not a big deal?

    Why is it that our army refuses to engage the Taliban through infantry and prefers to lob mortar shells in civilian areas?

    They dont need extra hands to do counter insurgency, it is their JOB to defend this country and their supposed incompetence can not be a reason why a people should be made subjected to rules that they did not opt for.

    The real thing is that our security establishment still has not given up on the idea of the strategic depth. We are still dreaming of ruling Afghanistan by proxy, but if someone is listening then Muslim Khan recently said that this shariah is not just for Swat but for the whole of Pakistan and the world.

    I know giving up pushtoon land would be an easier choice for a general stationed in Rawalpindi. But the question is whether our generals have the control over these guys to stop them from proliferating into the south of Pakistan, i.e. the REAL Pakistan.

    The terrorists in Jhang and the dacoits in Kashmore would be looking with interest at the rolling over of our political leadership.

    Taliban franchises are on offer, any thug interested?

  12. Eidee Man says:
    February 16th, 2009 7:50 pm

    Frankly, I am ambivalent about this new development. It’s mind-boggling to think that we have come to the point where the state is giving in to the demands of the radicals, but at the same time, I can’t say with certainty that the government should keep on fighting with full force, simply because I don’t know what it is like for getting your family and neighbors killed around you.

    My hope is that this will slow down the fighting, allow the REAL population (i.e. not the criminal imported Arabs) will take more and more control, and drive the militants out. Although, I’m not even sure that this arrangement will last. It’s quite unpredictable.

  13. Amina Khan says:
    February 16th, 2009 8:54 pm

    The situation in SWAT is of course very complex, but how can the Pakistani government pass this off as a “compromise”?
    Basically the government is giving the local Taliban free reign over the area in an exchange not to spread south.
    Anyone that actually thinks this will prevent further insurgence into the central areas of the country is not only naive, but ignorant of the underlying problems facing Pakistani society.
    We keep hearing “what else can be done?” This implies that the government has been exhausting all possible avenues for inhibiting the insurgency. This is obviously not the case as a simple radio station cannot be blocked, and any child can tell you where to find these makeshift Qazi courts that the army cannot seem to locate.

    At least give us some appearance at an attempt to compromise by stating that a return to Sharia law will include restoration of schools and prosecution of militants who are in violation of committing atrocities against the defenseless people of the region. Of course we have yet to hear any sort of official statement from either party that any semblance of Islamic peaceful living with security and education will be ensured.

    Unfortunately, this agreement will undoubtedly do nothing to help the “deeply conservative” local families. These families may want to live under Islamic law, but sadly the definition of Sharia is no longer what used to result in speedy justice before Maulana Fazlullah and his supporters took hostage the very ideals of Islam that the local people want their lives to be based upon. The already fragile social infrastructure has been plowed into the ground with the recent violence, and now with this new agreement, it has been buried under a corrupt and selfish government.

  14. Faraz says:
    February 16th, 2009 11:39 pm

    Was Zardari drunk when he agreed to this? This is really the worst possible move. A nightmare if you ask me. Who honestly thinks that these taliban guys will overnight turn into peaceful and reasonable people now that they have Swat. Their mission is to talibanise all of Pakistan, and all of Middle East, and ultimately the entire world. Sounds ludicurous but that’s exactly what they want. How can we offer these people a legitimate base in the heart of Pakistani terriotry?

  15. DuFFeR says:
    February 17th, 2009 12:12 am

    Good Move

  16. Saim says:
    February 17th, 2009 12:44 am

    I think that Govt has made a mistake by agreeing on the terms and conditions of these militants. This will create more problems for the entire country in the future. Govt appears to be completely helpless and has proven that it is not capable of ruling the country. Allah better knows how these militants will behave and do after their victory. God help Pakistan

  17. Tazeen says:
    February 17th, 2009 1:14 am

    Just when you think the government cannot get any more loony, they surprise you with something even more demented, such as giving into someone like Sufi Mohd.

  18. Alix_khan says:
    February 17th, 2009 2:16 am

    Is it a good move? IS IT A GOOD MOVE? Are you serious?

    These are the people that blew up girl’s schools. They beheaded people. The shot someone who was praying without having his shalwar above his ankles. You know what? I was all of these people. A Joe The Plumber: a bloody civilian, a no-name pakistani without any connections.

    This is why I want a green card or an canadian PR. I want myself to mean something. I don’t care about lack of electricity and I can live with poverty. But what I want is for my life and my dignity to mean something. Can you imagine US announcing blanket amnesty for members of violent gangs like MS-13 or Hell Angels? Hell will break loose if something like this happened here

  19. Zecchetti says:
    February 17th, 2009 2:40 am

    AllahuAkbar! The mujahideen have been victorious. Just for the record, they did not only blow up girls’ schools, but also boys schools. This means that the claim that they are against girls’ education is complete and utter propaganda. They must have been against the secular, neo-British education system if anything.

  20. shakoor says:
    February 17th, 2009 3:09 am

    Peoples of sawat got victory against bad rulers..

  21. faisal says:
    February 17th, 2009 4:36 am

    It is a BAD BAD move.

    But lets be honest. This is the decision taken by Paktunkhah Govt. and Fedral Govt. only approved what is essential a provincial problem.

    I think ANP had to bite the bitter pill agreeing to this. They held out as long as they could, hoping the security forces will be able to overcome them.

    As for security forces, the thing that really hampered them was, they had no means to differentiate between the friends and foes. They had no intelligence on who and where these guys are. In order to break the insurgency you have to destroy the command and control and supply network of the insurgents. As we all know these guys were very well funded, trained and equipped, when our Govt. was begging the West for modern equipment.

    So to be realistic, as a Pakistani, I have to swallow a bitter pill as well. Our own ignorance and carelessness created this monster.

    But as a nation this is a time to learn from mistakes, we need to identify the political failures, that provided space for these guys. We need to be vigilant to protect the basic human rights.

    Our intelligence will have plug spies in their network in order to better understand these people.

    Most of all, complete DISARMAMENT of the entire province as well as FATA is a must. If we compromise on this, it will only be a matter of time before they take over Kafirabad, Kafirhore and Kafirachi.

    My worthless two paisas.

  22. Talibani says:
    February 17th, 2009 4:43 am

    Its a great move.

    Now we will get to see real entertainment coming live out of Sawat. I can not wait to see live broadcast of folks getting flogged, beheaded and amputated out in the open. I sense this will become major source of revenue for the Malaknd division in a very short time.

  23. zia hussain says:
    February 17th, 2009 7:36 am

    Even if we dont like taliban, we should support this deal because it will save lifes of our people in swat. Sharia law is the best law that has Umar Farook proven, we should learn more about him and how he was as Calif istend of learning and trying to be like west so they will like us. We are muslims and should live as muslims not as slaves of west/USA as we are forced to live know. They will never be our friend, they have fooled us before and they will fool us again.
    I belive every area can have there own law as people in that area want, example Islamabadh, Lahore and Karachi can have western based law while we from other areas can have sharia-law or what ever our local-people want. End province system, there are too many people in a province to handle, or the province is to big in squaremetre.

  24. Must says:
    February 17th, 2009 7:46 am

    It

  25. wasiq says:
    February 17th, 2009 8:19 am

    Like most poor-developing countries, Pakistan has never exercised effective control over its national territory. This state of affairs can seem harmless enough during periods of regional peace, but quickly becomes a nation’s achilles heel when regional instability erupts. In unstable periods, power vacuums are exposed and filled by larger powers or by local militarized groups — witness the former role of the PLO or the Israeli proxy South Lebanese Army in Lebanon and now Hezbollah or the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia preceded by the Khmer Rouge genocide; the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) eastern stretch is actually identical with groups from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda displacing the state. Pakistan, very unfortunately, is going the way of Lebanon, Cambodia, and the DRC — its internal weaknesses have been exposed, exploited, and now confirmed. The reordering of the regional map has begun and Pakistan will shrink to core regions of Punjab and Sindh. Effective government control over Baluchistan has already disappeared except for pockets such as Quetta, Gwadar, and the Sui Gas Fields. In NWFP, as well, most of the region is not safe for Pakistani functionaries, military personnel, or citizens from other regions.

  26. Manu says:
    February 17th, 2009 9:11 am

    This truce was so uncalled for. The Sawatians were anyways killed by Talibans even before the Pakistani Army called a war on them. So basically why this truce?
    Probably it means that for 10 days, the Talibanis should take rest so that they are fresh for a new assault from the 11th day. Probably there is some thing important going on in Sawat, something which has to be done without interference. Probably assembly of a dirty bomb.

    This truce definately has no positive implications for Sawatians, but there is definately something more, that needs to be investigated.

  27. Asim says:
    February 17th, 2009 10:25 am

    My entire life I was led to believe that Pak Armed forces are the best and the bravest

  28. AHsn says:
    February 17th, 2009 10:47 am

    A SAD DAY

    Govt, TNSM agree on Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand (Daily Times Feb. 16, 2009)
    NWFP govt unveils Nizam-e-Adl (Daily Times Feb. 17, 2009)

    It is indeed a Sad Day for all those sincere (but naive), secular and democratic Pakistanis who believed in the declaration of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah when in his speech of 11th August, 1947, he said:

  29. Inspector Jamshed says:
    February 17th, 2009 2:04 pm

    The yahoo news quoted here says “The government (of Pakistan) agreed to impose Islamic law and suspend a military offensive across much of northwest Pakistan…” What idiocy?

    The Northwest (barring Northern Areas) is 74,521 km

  30. Masood says:
    February 17th, 2009 4:43 pm

    I think this move is a bit late. They should have applied this law when the army had the upper hand in 2007 and early 2008. Applying it now gives an impression of weakness.

    Having said that, all these areas, FATA and ex Princely states of Dir, Swat, Chitral etc are conservative societies. And the local jirga or riwaj system gives no value of life especially to the poor people. The current system is based on the colonial era English system, which, excuse my languauge, is basically rotten. Its does not work, does not give justice at all and sucks the two parties dry. Anyone who has the experience will not disagree.

    A replacement system of speedy justice is the need of the hour. It could be based on shariah or any other source of knowledge. However the shariah based system has an added advantage of being able to deny the militants any moral high ground. If played intelligently it could take the steam out of the militant’s drive, and ultimately their insurgency. (Which I hope, but do not believe will happen because of the half hearted steps this government is so fond of taking).

    It should also be noted that Shariah should not be equated only to flogging and executions. Flogging falls under the laws of “Hadd” and applicable only to infidelity (fornication) and consumption of alcohol (in certain cases). Execution is applicable only in case of murder, armed robbery and in certain cases with infidelity (only in the case of four eye witnesses being present. Also not everyone agrees with awarding the death sentence in case of infidelity of a married man or woman, however rape is awarded the death) penalty). This is in no way different from the laws that are already in force.

    As regards cutting off of hands, that too is applied in extreme cases. It is not applicable to the theft of food, medicines or theft for providing for ones family. In cases of valuable being stolen without justification (health or hunger) one has three chances given to him “WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PUNISHMENT, ONLY ADVICE”. Also it is documented that in times of famine Hazrat Umar (RA) had suspended this punishment, so it is not considered as a punishment to be applied without question.

    Shariah covers others laws including but not limited to rights of inheritance (I do not believe any mulah will agree to sharing his wealth or land with the women folk of his household), taxes, protection of life and property, businesses, interest less banking, divorce, la’an etc.

    I have not read the document that has been signed but I believe none of these will be covered in the peace deal or implementation of shariah in Swat and it will be a mere whitewash. Thus limiting its capacity to control the law and order situation. Shariah also guides how to control miscreants on the face of the earth and those whoo do not listen to their governments, and believe if imposed properly, Shariah could be very effective (and perhaps a bit ruthless) in dealing with dissent, which is not tolerated. Any ATC (Anit terrorist court) judge would practically envie haveing this imposed in place of our current ineffective laws.

    So ladies and gentlemen, I wish one would understand what we are talking about. The problem lies not in the Shariah law but hose who will be imposing it. No one is imposing it for Allah or Muhammad (PBUH), only for political purposes. And as long as the people who are the guradians of the law of the land do not change, this will make abolutely no difference in the miseries of the people of Malakand and Swat. I do wish fate proves me wrong.

  31. Riaz Haq says:
    February 17th, 2009 6:55 pm

    The Swat situation is very difficult and complex, partly due to dithering by the federal and provincial governments who have a confused strategy giving mixed signals to the militants. And the militants themselves are divided between father-in-law Sufi Mohammad and son-in-law Fazalullah. But they seem less divided than the rest of Pakistan in achieving their goals.

    The situation is further exacerbated by the presence of US troops and the almost daily killings by US predator drones that undermine support for Pakistan’s government and military.

    A complex situation like Swat requires strong consensus on a coherent strategy with both political and military components working hand-in-hand with the support of Pakistani people. Unfortunately Pakistan’s response to the situation has been very confused. It has neither consensus nor coherence. So the militants have gained an upper hand.

    I think we are in a long struggle for control between the Taliban and their version of Shariah and modern civil society based on democratic principles. The Taliban clearly have an upper hand for the moment, at least in Swat. They are not likely to be satisfied with just Swat. They’ll soon be aiming for the entire NWFP and then the rest of Pakistan.

    Unless the governments in the region learn to deal with such insurgencies, I fear that the entire region will descend into chaos and larger civil war. It can only lead to one thing: A cry by ordinary Pakistanis for an authoritarian military dictatorship that uses repression and organized death squads to restore some semblance of order at the cost of a lot of basic freedoms. The question will be as to who can fill the vacuum? The repressive Taliban or autocratic military generals? Pakistanis will most likely be forced to trade whatever freedoms they have for more security.

  32. readinglord says:
    February 17th, 2009 7:04 pm

    What an absurdity extravaganza! We, the people of Pakistan, have been hanged upside down with our heads cut-off. An F.Lullah is going to enforce his ‘Sharia’ on Swat by terrorizing both the people, the rulers of ‘Pakhtoonkhah’, the ‘brave’ Army and Zardari coterie. What a sad demise of ….! No, no, sending us all to ‘heaven’ alive, with heads cut off. What a sad day for my generation who had worked for and seen the birth of Pakistan and now see it ‘Khapping’ in FL Sharia!

    “Sochaan di mayyat ley key mein kehrhe ghar jaawaan
    Je bolaan te maara jaavaan, je nah bolaan te mar jaavaan”

  33. sidhas says:
    February 17th, 2009 7:12 pm

    This is perfect example of capitulating to the demands of criminals. I stick to old dictum that says rebels and rebellions should be crushed.

    Call me conservative but there are certain groups that represents irrationality and talibans are among them.

    On a lighter note, haven’t we tried same tactics during Mush era.

  34. Faraz says:
    February 17th, 2009 7:40 pm

    Great news for the locals, and the opposite for those who are living in and out of country. I can understand that most of you are faithful to your masters and are afraid to say anything against. Come out of the shell and think like a Pakistani if not as a muslim.

  35. Faizan Ghaznavi says:
    February 17th, 2009 8:13 pm

    This was an awful move on the part of Zaradri’s awful government. This will send off a chain reaction within the Taleban, providing positive reinforcement for their un-Islamic efforts. The Taliban’s “Sharia” is not that of Islam. Rather it is a bastardized ideological form of tyranny. Do not approach this issue in any other manner. The Taleban are a ruthless, unIslamic group of ignorant men, period. Sharia law is a beautiful thing, and to implement it in this manner is simply haram.

  36. Muhammad says:
    February 17th, 2009 8:33 pm

    I agree with Riaz Haq. In addition I believe that this a surrender by the government of Pakistan. This will only make that Taliban stronger and now it will be almost impossible to stop them. As a Pakistani in America I am often called upon to explain the situation in Pakistan amongst my American freinds. I think I’m going to give up! I also had the intention of returning to Pakistan once I complete my masters, however I am not so sure anymore…

  37. Yasmeen says:
    February 17th, 2009 10:19 pm

    This is a terrible development. It is surrendering to the scare tactics of these extremists and will only make them more bold in Swat as well in rest of country.

  38. February 18th, 2009 12:18 am

    I just wonder shall we ever be able to visit again the great places like Mallam Jabba and Kalam? Shall there be peace enough? A local called me from Swat yesterday. They seem to be hopeful.

  39. Nazra says:
    February 18th, 2009 1:24 am

    This is a bad deal for everyone. My heart goes out to all those little girls who have no future, whose dreams of going to school have been shattered, who have to lives confined lives without any hope. Zardari has a made a pact with the devil, and we know how such pacts turn out.

    It won’t be long until the scourge of the Taliban spreads into Isloo, Lahore and Karachi and makes demands for imposition of rules, regulations and laws similar to those in Swat. I wish the people of Pakistan would see the threat and rise up. But they are buried under a layer of apathy so heavy that they can’t. Start digging folks. Before it’s too late.

  40. Aatif says:
    February 18th, 2009 1:39 am

    Its better than fighting our own people. And the talibans will also open girls’ schools according to the agreement.

  41. February 18th, 2009 1:58 am

    Few years in future when talibans would have spread its tentacles to other parts of Pakistan like the cities and town where you relatively “civilised” people live and have freedom to question and argue, you would look back and consider this day as an epoch, something which changed Pakistan forever, for worse.

    You give them an inch and they will ask for a yard.

    Best of luck

  42. Thinker says:
    February 18th, 2009 2:50 am

    http://thinker-thinkingoutofthebox.blogspot.com/

    I completely agree that you give them an inch they will want a yard.

    This is the saddest day for Pakistan. We should never give in to gun toting guys whoever they may be. Many people have many demands does it mean you take up arms? More and more people will, if you concede to the demand by guns. No way Sir.

    These narrow minded people must be stopped by force. They will never understand by reasoning. Who are they to tell us what is Sharia? We know it and we are already following it.

    Sharia is the source of all Laws in Pakistan. That is what the constitution says. Is it what the people want or a handful of guys? People’s wish can be established through a referendum. Where is it?

    This weakness will lead us no where. Stop it. Let them surrender. Let the law take its course for all the killing they have done, for all the schools they have blown up and all the crimes they have committed. Let them lay down their arms right now or face death at the hands of our army.

    They are cowards they take refuge in the civilian population where the army does not want to operate for fear of collateral damage and they are taking advantage of this. If a ferendum is heald they will be rejected.
    http://thinker-thinkingoutofthebox.blogspot.com/

  43. Another Indian says:
    February 18th, 2009 4:09 am

    To all,

    Unless you are in politics, terrorism, bad blood, hatred speech etc only harms you. It is applicable for all individuals irrespective of all differentiators. I and many Indians pray for a stable Pakistan and a healthy, positive and mutually benificial relation with Pakistan.

    Amen

  44. Hameed says:
    February 18th, 2009 5:14 am

    I think this is a sad development. The notion that the legal order, whatever it ism will be dictated by anyone except the legal government is surrender and means that this is no longer part of Pakistan and the Pakistani state.. Sad, sad, sad.

  45. Nasir says:
    February 18th, 2009 9:17 am

    ‘Moderate’ Maulana Sufi Muhammad says Democracy is kuffr;

    http://jang.com.pk/jang/feb2009-daily/18-02-2009/up80.gif

    Hopefully at least pro-taliban Nawaz league and so called religious parties will take heed and get out of politics.

  46. PakWatcher says:
    February 18th, 2009 4:11 pm

    I am surprised that the Pak Government could not capture Faz-lullah Khan. Swati Taleban, will now rule over I guess Malakand Division ( 7 districts ) and Swat , over a population of 3 million and more.
    The word of the clergy , will be the law, with Peshawar HC or Pak Supreme Court , having no jurisdiction.
    I would not be surprised if the Taleban now demand increasing the area under Taleban Sharia rule, 1 district at a time.
    Ultimately this power struggle is not going to be resolved peacefully. It has just been deferred.

  47. Clarion Call says:
    February 18th, 2009 7:09 pm

    A sad day for Pakistan and for the people of Swat who have been suffering at the hands of few gun-waving terrorists. This is just the beginning of even bigger problem.

  48. Ahmad says:
    February 18th, 2009 11:00 pm

    I cannot fathom what is happening in the “land of the pure”, who is destroying it?

  49. Usman Kadiri says:
    February 19th, 2009 1:40 am

    Comments on this post reveal how alienated our English speaking intelligentia is from the masses!

    Name calling does not serve any purpose. You may call these people as “gun waving terrorists” but do not forget that most of the Pakistanis do not see them this way. They look up to them as brothers committed to Islam. It is only a miniscule elite that feels threatened by demand for Islamic law. It is our English speaking elite who are holding the country to ransom with the help of their western friends – not the other way round.

  50. Taha hassan says:
    February 19th, 2009 2:17 am

    I think these peoples must not give a chance. They are not a true Muslim and not even a true human. hey are just bunch of illiterate people who have been misguided by some other devil minded extremist. If we give them a chance it means we are allowing them to spread their evil on other places also and being as a true Muslim it hurts when their foolish acts comes on media.

  51. February 19th, 2009 5:00 am

    Before I write anything else, I must say that I did not know Musa Khan

  52. Benjamin Franklin says:
    February 19th, 2009 6:26 am
  53. Pinny says:
    February 19th, 2009 7:08 am

    A deal like this completely undermines what we’ve been trying to do in Pakistan for ages. There is a reason we have a democratic system, albeit a broken one. If a group of people have an ideology they think is superior, let the public decide whether they should be in power. This manner of terrorizing regions and then gaining legitimacy by getting recognition from the government cannot and should not happen.

    But we all know what will happen if they ever ran in an election, an ideology that wants to lock up and alienate the entire female population of a country will never get support.

    If we let this cancer grow, there won’t be a Pakistan to save before long.

  54. Aamir Ali says:
    February 19th, 2009 10:01 am

    The military needs to use the temporary peace gained through this surrender to militants to plan a more effective strategy against them. A good question will be why did military ops in Bajaur succeed while the one in Swat failed?

  55. jock says:
    February 19th, 2009 12:50 pm

    The extremists have effectively won for the time being. They have successfully divided society. They have convinced many people, including educated ones that there’s is a sincere struggle for Islam. Usman Kadiri talks about most people being on their side apart from the satanic “English speaking intelligentsia”…..that remains to be seen. Most people seem to be quite terrified and rightly so, of their numerous beheadings, destruction of schools (it doesn’t matter if they’re boys or girls) and other acts of butchery.

    On the other hand the stupidity of our govt and NATO forces also seems neverending. They have become unwitting experts in the art of creating more terrorists. Guerrilla warfare cannot be fought against without winning the people over and they don’t seem to be doing that at all. This situation will continue to get worse for a decade or so untill some holistic strategy is produced and ACTUALLY implemented….Pakistan will remain a dangerous, unstable place for many years to come…:(

  56. RR says:
    February 19th, 2009 2:13 pm

    Let’s face it: Pakistan Army failed. It failed in every prospect. General Kayani deserves to be stripped to the ranking to Jawaaan. He failed us and he failed Pakistan. My pride in Pakistan army is shattered! I will never count on Pakistan army if war starts. Taliban are much much more powerful than Pakistan army. Maybe Pakistan should recruit them in Army.

  57. RR says:
    February 19th, 2009 2:16 pm

    Correction: “to the ranking of Jawaan”.

  58. Aamir Ali says:
    February 19th, 2009 5:30 pm

    Why is Gen Kayani and the Pakistan Army being condemned? They are the only ones actually fighting the extremists on the ground, and they were repeatedly sabotaged by the ANP/PPP “peace agreements”, which allowed militants to re-group, re-arm and take revenge against those civilians who were supporting the military operation.

    Every single politician/parliamentarian from Swat fled, no member of the Cabinet ever visited the place, and neither did the President/PM. They all deserve blame for this failure.

  59. Clarion Call says:
    February 19th, 2009 7:23 pm

    It is absurd to see some contributors on this Blog calling those people who are trying to raise awareness against Taliban danger

  60. Contrarian says:
    February 19th, 2009 10:33 pm

    The gutless cowards ruling Pakistan

    It was only inevitable that the Pakistan government would sue for peace with the Taliban. In a desperate bid to stave of the approach of insurgency in the Punjab and Sind provinces, the spineless government caved into the demands of a bunch of thugs and virtually signed away a province over to these miscreants.

    Any follower of the history of Pakistan will not be surprised. There is a precedent to this too. In 1965, Pakistan fought a war with India. The war ended in a stalemate. Although the territories of the then state of Pakistan was divided into West and East Pakistan, over 90% of the armed forces were concentrated in the West, essentially protecting Punjab and Sind from India. This was in line with the strategic doctrine that defense of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. Thus on the eastern front, the Indians outnumbered the Pakistani troops defending East Pakistan by more than three to one.This fact was not lost on the East Pakistanis who increasingly started viewing the army as a west Pakistani entity created to defend only West Pakistan. The seeds of secession which culminated with the creation of Bangladesh were firmly sown as a result of the 1965 War.

    The good people of Swat and the North West frontier province are also learning the same lessons. When it come down to it, it is the most vulnerable of the citizens of Pakistan who are suffering. Statistically, the NFWP province are eons behind in development of human resources, infrastructure and other amenities as compared to the Punjab and Sind provinces. They are the one who need the support and help from the Pakistan armed forces to repel the raga tag bunch of hoodlums who have forcibly taken over their state. Yet the Pakistan government prevaricates. Despite the fact that thru a open and fair election, a secular progressive government under the Awami National Party (ANP) was elected to power, ( clearly throwing out the Islamist incumbent party which was in power) the central government claims that they are honouring the wishes of the “majority” of the people of Swat by “allowing” the Taliban to take over power in the state.

    The hope of these spineless, gutless bunch of morons in power in Islamabad is that the blood lust of the Taliban vampires will be sated by the sacrifice of the boon dock provinces. What they don’t realize is that once the slim pickings in these provinces are sucked dry, the Taliban will be looking greedily at the fat, rich and decadent core provinces of Pakistan. They will start with Baluchistan. It is out of the way and the same threat of random human suicide bombings will scare the government into relinquishing control into Taliban hands. Quetta is already under quasi Taliban control. Next will be Sind starting with Karachi where the MQM and the Pathan are already at war, with the Sindhis as silent spectators. Punjab seen as the Babylon of vices will pay the price last. And all because the government was not willing to take a stand.

    What the government should do is to establish the writ of the state in every corner of Pakistan. What is the point in bemoaning the loss of sovereignty of Pakistan when the US blatantly bombs the NWFP, when at the same time not a whisper is raised about the existence of non Pakistani players extracting taxes and holding courts where they are police, prosecutor and judge.

    Currently neither the Army nor the bureaucrats not the common citizen care about the fate of the outer lying provinces. What they don’t know is that by not acting now, they have embolden the Taliban. Small two bit players are parleying with the government representatives as equals nay as superiors bargaining from a position of strength. If the government keeps this going, its only a matter of time before the inevitable happens. The Taliban version of hell will spead into every corner of Pakistan.

    Zardari, Sharif and Musharraf, the bells of Taliban hell are tolling. They are tolling for you.

  61. D_a_n says:
    February 19th, 2009 11:54 pm

    @ Contrarian…

    completely agree..only I believe that the Army could have done much better if they had the support of their confused countrymen…you have no idea how much that factors into morale at the front line when your staring down a bearded animal…..

    you have forgotten to add the general cowardice of our nation in general in face of a menace of ‘Khwariji’ proportions….

    unfortunately…no Ali (RA) here to stand for us…

  62. D_a_n says:
    February 20th, 2009 12:26 am

    @ Usman Kadiri…

    MashAllah….it’s good to know that poorly thought out arguments are readily available in soundbyte formats on this forum…

    English speaking intelligensia eh? which language pray tell are you commenting on this blog? Cantonese?

    and I do feel it tedious to remind you of the obvious….Quaid e Azam was of the same English speaking elite category…but then again….what did he know right??
    you beards had it wrong then! and you beards have it wrong today! Have you NO shame?

  63. SAD says:
    February 20th, 2009 1:44 am

    Here is my prediction. This deal will not even last a week.

    It is not even a deal, only a statement that they will like a deal.

    Both will end saying, “well we tried” and then all will be back to teh usual killing.

  64. Democrat says:
    February 20th, 2009 2:04 am

    I do not like and do not trust these Taliban.

    But if this gives us peace without imposing their barbaric views then I will live with it if this is what teh people of Swat want.

    But, frankly, I also do not think that this will last.

  65. Mike says:
    February 20th, 2009 8:17 pm

    Pakistan army has created a myth that it is good and competent. Actually Pakistan army is not that good. It has lost every war with India. In 1971 war, it was good at killing civilians and very good in surrendering to Indians without putting up a fight.

    It does not want to fight Taliban as it knows it will lose and the myth will vanish. Without the myth, the army officer class will lose its clout and all financial benefits it enjoys.

  66. desiskeptic says:
    February 20th, 2009 9:49 pm

    I know many people have expressed similar apprehension, but this really is worrying news. If it does succeed in bringing some semblance of peace, that will be the only redeeming feature. But if this leads to stopping girls from going to school, stopping (or highly restricting) the movement of women, ban on shaving and other absurdities in the name of religion, then that will be a real tragedy for Pakistan.

  67. AHsn says:
    February 21st, 2009 3:11 am

    Any army should:
    (1) fight and win,
    but in case of difficulty
    (2) retreat and surrender.
    So, Dear Mike
    You should accept that Pakistan Army has at least the 2nd quality!! It is not so bad after all!!!

  68. Gorki says:
    February 21st, 2009 12:13 pm

    After following the above story in the wider media for days, it is hard to guess what to make of this deal.
    On one hand my heart goes out to the people of Swat, who were murdered, maimed and terrorized for weeks by the very militants to whom they have been turned over to by the state, on the other hand one sees pictures of cheering civilians in Mingora and elsewhere, welcoming Sufi Mohammad and the peace that he has promised.

    While the events have clearly demonstrated the inability of the state of Pakistan to end the insurgency by force, the Swat deal has raised several very important questions:
    1. How much popular support did the state and its armies have in the current battle in Swat and it has in its larger war against the Taliban?
    2. How united and committed are the organs of the state; its army, its political leadership and the common people in the current climate of a low intensity conflict, both inside and outside Pakistan?
    3. How much political will and commitment does the current Pakistani leadership have to the country? What conclusion should one draw when the heads of some of its largest political parties (and till recently it

  69. Baber says:
    February 21st, 2009 6:35 pm

    Allama Iqbal on this situation:

    deen-e-kafir fikro tadbeer’e jihad
    deen-e-mullah fi sabil-illah fasad

  70. auk says:
    February 22nd, 2009 2:35 am

    “Terms of Surrender” by Irfan Husain – Dawn 02-21-09

    http://tinyurl.com/ap7tsp

  71. Aamir Ali says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:24 pm

    Security forces jammed Mullah Radio’s transmission today. Good move.

  72. May 24th, 2009 11:58 pm

    It will not be possible to get rid of religious fanaticism and the curse of Taliban from Pakstan unless and until their supporters and fans are rooted out from this unfortunate land. The Taliban are a bunch of crooks and wild animals who ar using the very convenient crutch of religion to take contol of the country called Pakistan. Taliban supporters are providing them the legitimacy and the and the means to survive and cause death and destruction in Pakistan. Major Taliban upporters are Imran Khan, Hamid Gul, Jamat-i-Islami and many media moghals and anchors.

  73. June 5th, 2009 9:43 pm

    http://tinyurl.com/qblyr6
    is a good video on the actual camp situation

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