A New Experiment Or A Repeated Mistake in NWFP?

Posted on April 23, 2008
Filed Under >Manzoor Ali Shah, Politics
26 Comments
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Manzoor Ali Shah

The NWFP government has released the banned outfit Tehreek e Nafaz e Shariat e Mohammadi (TNSM) incarcerated leader Maulana Sufi Mohammad on Monday, in a new bid to reclaim some of its lost territory in the restive Swat district and tribal areas.

ANP led coalition government of the province has been adamant that they would solve Taliban insurgency through dialogue and both the parties have hinted on many occasions that they are engaged in dialogue and talks are heading in right direction.

Deals with militants are not new and in the past provincial and federal governments also tried to broker peace with militant through dialogue.

The Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) led government of the Frontier in May 2007 signed a peace deal with Maulana Fazlullah, son-in-law of Sufi Mohammad and leader of Swat insurgency, which collapsed after the operation against Red Mosque in Islamabad and government, had to launch a military operation in the district in October last year to regain control, which is still going on.

Sufi Mohammad release has brought to the limelight the government attempts to bring the peace back to the province ravaged by the militancy, through negotiation and it also intends to replicate this model to tribal areas and engage the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of militants’ outfits fighting the security forces in the country.

However, in the past three deals had been signed with the Taliban militants in the North and South Waziristan, but all collapsed.

Sufi’s release came after a jirga of TNSM met the provincial government officials and Sufi agreed to follow a six point agenda for peace in Malakand Agency.

An active member of Jamaat Islami (JI), he established TNSM in 1992 after he quit (JI), and he gained such clout that his followers tried to enforce Sharia in the Malakand Agency in 1994 and several people were killed in clashes with security forces. Among other things, his version of sharia also included driving on the right hand side and his followers disrupted the regular flow of traffic all through the area by forcing people to drive in wrong lanes.

In 2001, during the American invasion of Afghanistan, he took around 10, 000 people to fight American forces in Afghanistan, but most of them were either killed or captured by the Northern Alliance.

He was arrested along with a dozen supporters in October 2001, on his return to Pakistan, after his disastrous Afghan campaign and later convicted for seven years in prison in 2002.

Since then, he was languishing in Dera Ismail Khan Jail and was shifted to Peshawar last autumn and lodged in the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) in tight security. ANP led coalition government, which came to power after February 18 elections, started negotiations with TNSM and released him on Monday, but at present it is not clear, that could he be useful in normalising the situation.

It is also a question that he would be able to influence his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of Swat militancy, popularly known as ‘Radio Mullah.’

Author is a Staff Reporter for Daily Times, Peshawar Bureau.

26 responses to “A New Experiment Or A Repeated Mistake in NWFP?”

  1. BelligerentPacifist says:

    Hello jk,
    What does militate mean then? I was going to say fight but I put it softer. We see where I live students ‘militate’ all the time for their demands from the faculty or even the ministry.

    About the TNSM, I told almost all I heard. And that was from a local and a sort of insider so i believe it true.
    That Mr. Sufi used to be in/with the Jama’at e Islami (i presume in really olden days, say the 70s) but broke away saying the party was just trying to land seats and wanted no real reform.

    Swat as I said isn’t in FATA. It’s and Dir’s history is different. These were princely states which merged as late as early 60s into pakistan and their local laws got supplanted. But since Pakistani law never works out, not atleast before 30 years time per case, they want their own local judiciary system in Swat. Something like before. Something in which murderers were handed over to the victim’s family to dismember! Okay made the last part up!

    But don’t be fooled that they’re not inspired. Demands don’t naturally go from verbal to military as if a switch has been flicked. If not the americans, we need to somehow keep the indians out of afghanistan and baluchistan.

  2. Jamshed Nazar says:

    The core issue is that both the Pakistan Army and the mainstream public in Pakistan cannot take any more of these suicide bombings. This is resulting in the apeasement policy.

    This is very similar to Iraq where the Amercians have talked to the Sunni and Shia militants after Amercian soldiers body bags caused public support for the Iraq war to plummet.

    Since the Americans are not direct causalities in Pakistan, they keep asking for “Do more”. However, for Pakistanis, in the abscense of any counter mechanism to control suicide bombings, the only option left is to try to contain the militants in their areas of FATA and to control the spill over in the settled areas.

    Containment is a correct policy at this time since it allows peaceful co-existance between militants and the rest of Pakistan. Especially in the wake of secular government taking over in Pakistan, there is no chance of radicalisation of mainstream Pakistani society. The distinction between us and them becomes quite clear and containment makes sense.

    However, the problem is the backdoor links of the Pakistani militants across the border to Afghanistan. In the abscense of a worknig formula for co-existense in Afghanistan between the Karzai / Nato and the Taliban, conflict would continue over there and the safe heavens across the border in Fata would cause Nato and the US to strike in the Fata areas resulting in “Do More”, reluctant Pakistani Army action and the consequential suicide bombings in Lahore / Pindi etc.

    Perhaps the TAPI pipeline could bring the warring factions t othe table. shared revenues out of the pipeline should allow peaceful working agreements in Afghanistan for co-existance and may result in long lasting peace. Ultimately, economics and trade may drive the conflict in afghanistan to a nagotiated settlement.

    However, in order to reach such a conclusion, the parties need to recognize each other – Nato needs to recognize the Militants as a potent force and the Militants need to recognize Nato and the US.

    It is clear that neither party can kick out the other one from the ground. Suicide bomdings have brought in a stalemate scenario and the sooner this is recognized by all parites, the better.

  3. jk says:

    BelligerentPacifist > Militate does not mean struggle. Can you please share more information with me about who the TNSM are and what their history is?

    Thanks.

  4. BelligerentPacifist says:

    I see some posters here are confusing the TNSM with the Wazir fighters. They’re apparantly not the same and don’t have the same demands. Someone from Swat told me the TNSM just wants changes in the local judicial system. Why can’t they militate(struggle) for that?

  5. faisal says:

    When army and security personnel were getting killed in the operation against MQM in the 90s the entire Urdu speaking community was looked upon by the rest of country as traitor, everyone would say, how dare they kill our Jawans? Now that these merciless, ignorant, drug selling, goods smuggling, wife beating, bushwhacking mullahs are doing that they are becoming Mujahideens and folk heroes.

    You negotiate with people who willing to listen, learn and compromise. These mullahs wont listen to anyone making any sense. They live in a fantasy world of their own making. Anyone dares reason with them is like asking to go to heavenly virgins before their due time.

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