Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pakistan lets Islamists have their law

Pakistani militants talk peace amid criticism

AP — Pakistan dispatched a pro-Taliban cleric to talk peace with militants in the former tourist haven of Swat on Tuesday, a day after it agreed to a truce with the extremists and pledged to implement Islamic law in the region as part of a widely criticized deal.
A U.S. defense official called the agreement "a negative development" and a Pakistani civil rights activist dubbed it a surrender to militants believed to control up to 80 percent of the Swat Valley, which lies near the northwest tribal regions where al-Qaida and Taliban have long had strongholds.
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Islamic Law Instituted In Pakistan's Swat Valley

Washington Post -- The Pakistani government, desperate to restore peace to a Taliban-infested valley once known as the "Switzerland of Pakistan," agreed Monday to enforce strict Islamic law in the surrounding district near the Afghan border, conceding to a long-standing demand by local Islamist leaders who in turn pledged to ask the fighters to lay down their arms.
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Pakistan cuts 'dangerous' deal with Taliban

ABC Australia -- The Swat Valley, in Pakistan's north-west, was once a popular tourist destination. But for more than a year, Taliban militants and Pakistani forces have been battling it out there.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have fled.
And despite being greatly outnumbered, the militants have succeeded in gaining control of most of the area, about 160 kilometres north of the capital, Islamabad.
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