Is Pakistan falling to Taliban?

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Singh, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Pakistani pro-Taliban militants stand with their weapons on a street in Swat Valley in 2007.

    "Smile, you're in Swat," reads a billboard on the main road into the lush green honeymooners' valley once dubbed the "Switzerland of Asia". But over the past two years, Swat has been turned into a playground for the Taliban. And it may be the Taliban, and their fellow Islamists, who have most reason to smile as a result of the government's decision, last week, to end its floundering military campaign and instead accept the Taliban's key demand — for the imposition of Islamic shari'a law in the area.

    Critics are alarmed at an agreement they fear will attack the rights of women, create a parallel legal system, encourages Islamist insurgencies elsewhere in Pakistan, and even create a safe haven for a wider spectrum of militants. Still, many locals have welcomed the deal for the stability it promises. "We are happy that there is a chance for peace now," said Mohammed Tariq, 36, a thickly bearded cafeteria worker, who blamed the Taliban for spreading fear and the army for alienating the population by inflicting a heavy toll in civilian casualties. "We hope that it doesn't fail." Like many locals, he was antagonized by the Taliban's violent methods, but supports the call for Shar'ia law. "The real issue was the courts," he says. "It took too long to get justice. People are fed up with this system. It's also corrupt." (See images of Pakistan's militant challenge)

    The lynchpin of the government's effort to defuse the Taliban insurgency is Sufi Mohammed, a septuagenarian Islamist cleric whose Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law has returned to Swat with the backing of the authorities. "We will ask them to lay down their weapons," Sufi Mohammed says of the local Taliban who have terrorized Swat over the last two years. "We are hopeful that they won't turn us down." Sufi Mohammed's credibility with the militants is based on the fact that he waged his own violent campaign for Shar'ia law in the area in the mid-1990s, and that he fought alongside the Taliban when U.S. forces invaded in 2001. Even though he has renounced violence, Sufi Mohammed still denounces democracy as a "heresy." Now, he must convince the man who has stolen his thunder — Maulana Fazlullah, whose forces control 80% of the area after a fierce two-year conflict with the Pakistani army that has cost over 1,500 lives — to lay down arms. Fazlullah is an erstwhile disciple of Sufi Mohammed, and is also his estranged son-in-law.

    With the military effort failing to stem the Taliban's advance in an area just over three hours from the capital, the government may have seen Sufi Mohammed as a lesser evil, and accepted his demand for Shar'ia law in order to help him win back control of Swat from the Taliban.

    The local Taliban, of course, have already effectively imposed their own version of Shar'ia on the area. Until a few months ago, the Cheena market in Mingora thronged with women buying dresses and jewellery; now, it is closed. Stores selling music and films have been attacked, and although barbers still offer haircuts, they'll no longer shave a customer after the Taliban forbade it.

    Sufi Mohammed's return to the area has already brought visible changes. "It's the first time in nearly two years I'm seeing police in uniform out on the streets and in their cars," says laborer Tahir Ali. "They used to be without uniform, sometimes too busy protecting themselves to protect the rest of us."

    The Taliban had also destroyed over 180 schools across the valley, most girls' but a number of boys schools, too. Now, government schools are expected to reopen in March, after the winter break. Government officials insist that under Sufi Mohammed's Shari'a regulations, the Taliban's prohibition on female education will be lifted. But many of the teachers who were threatened have fled the area, and are too fearful to return any time soon. "The Taliban have threatened us not to come back," says Zunaiba Hayat, a 35-year-old middle school teacher who moved to Islamabad after her school was ransacked by the militants.

    Sufi Mohammed's success, however, will hinge on his ability to persuade his former acolyte to end his insurgency. Fazlullah learned at the feet of Sufi Mohammed in the 1990s, fought alongside him in Swat and then later Afghanistan, and married his teacher's daughter. Both men were imprisoned upon their return from Afghanistan, and it was after he was freed that Fazlullah returned to the Swat valley village of Imam Dheri, operating the yellow painted chair lift that ferries people across the Swat river. According to local lore, it was after his brother was killed in a U.S. missile strike on the village of Damadola in Bajaur in 2006 that Fazlullah seized control of a pirate radio transmitter and began delivering sulphurous sermons. "Mullah Radio," as he became known, quickly developed a following through his twice-daily radio addresses preaching jihad, and exhorting listeners to donate money and jewellery to his cause. He became particularly popular with daytime women listeners, whom he urged to not sleep with their husbands if they refused to fight alongside him.

    Lengthy queues soon formed by the chair lift, with thousands of worshippers keen to cross the river and attend the militant leader's Friday sermons. Swat's established elite looked on with mounting anxiety. "The followers multiplied inexorably," says a member of the family of the Wali of Swat, the traditional tribal leader, declining to be identified by name. "We were feeling Fazlullah was a political threat. What we built over 150 years could just go in one fatwa. [The militants] played on the deep religious sentiment of the people, their economic deprivation and sense of neglect."

    The locals grandees had reason to be worried. The Taliban won support from a section of the poor, residents say, by targeting the wealthy and the powerful, attacking families and driving them out, and looting their abandoned homes. As Swat's notables and lawmakers fled, young, unemployed men suddenly found status as local commanders with large salaries from Fazlullah's mysteriously deep pockets. (Conspiracy theories abound as to the source of his largesse.) But the key to his success, say local observers, was Fazlullah's ability to exploit local resentment at the failings of Pakistan's venal judicial system, in which complainants routinely found justice deferred or denied.

    The new shari'a system agreed with Sufi Mohammed, says Shoukat Ali Yousafzai, will resolve criminal cases within four months, and settle civil matters within six months. Judges will be advised by religious scholars, he ways, "but there will be no beheadings, hand choppings, or ban on women working or studying."

    Less clear is whether the Taliban will accept those terms. On Saturday night, after two days of talks with his father-in-law, Fazlullah, in a speech carried live by Pakistan's main news channels, said that his cohorts were still discussing Sufi Mohammed's proposals. "We will consult again after the 10-day cease-fire... We will also observe a permanent cease-fire if the government takes practical steps," he said, without elaborating.

    Nor is the fate of the Swat deal clear in Islamabad, where it has yet to be ratified by President Asif Ali Zardari, whose government is under pressure from Western allies to take a tougher line against the Taliban. Many in his own party privately express misgivings. "What will stop them from going further?" says one member of parliament who asked not to be named. "I don't want my wife or daughter to wear a burqa. What if they don't lay down their weapons? They could be in Peshawar next, or even Islamabad."

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1881387,00.html
     
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  3. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=20491
     
  4. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    After SWAT, the GOP and PA has surrendered to the Taliban in Bajaur too. They agreed to all their conditions and are withdrawing from the region unconditionally, leaving the civilians to the tender mercy of the Taliban primitives.

    The PA seem to have no stomach to fight the Taliban after having failed against them in the half hearted battle.

    This exposes Pakistan's soft underbelly but what are the implications for India. The whole of Pakistan may fall to Taliban.

    What are the implications of a Talibanised Pakistan for India and for the world? Please discuss.
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    how long will take for the Taliban to ask for that region to be an Independent country since they won pakistan surrenedered and the land is theirs now?
     
  6. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    It seems that the Taliban has put six conditions for the cease fire and the GOP has accepted all of them. A shameful surrender against a rag tag militia!
     
  7. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think they will be looking to take over the whole Pakistan. It is not so far fetched as it seems. May happen very soon.
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    this has been answered already NO, but I wonder if this region will be independent or become part of Afghanistan? Since Taliban fought won, pakistan lost surrendered. I don't recall any time in history where the winners did not claim their independece from the defeated party?
     
  9. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    I merged a similar thread I created 5 minutes before Vinod's.
     
  10. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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    The Lust for power & Victory will bring Taliban to the Doorsteps of ISLAMABAD.

    By approving the Taliban they have doomed their own Fate & Existence... :vehicle_plane:
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    if they can defeat the pakistani army in SWAT , NWFP then the rest of Pakistan should not be difficult?
     
  12. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ahh...we're having wet dreams sessions!
    Love those... :35:
    Wish I could join but have a lot of reading to do...
     
  13. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Is taliban/pashtun movement and baluchi movement same or different?
     
  14. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    A lot different. Balochi movement us backed by RAW and doesn't post serious threat to national security where as Taliban are a global threat.
     
  15. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Neo, it's a genuine worry. I don't really think the Taliban will just stop with SWAT and Bajaur. The conditiona are ripe for them if the GOP and PA don't act with more spine than they are doing.
     
  16. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mate, NWFP isn't like the rest of Pakistan. The environment there is ideal for Taliban or Islamists to set foot and to flourish.
    Islamic parties never scored more than 11% of votes in a single election, Pakistan will never turn into another Iran or Afghanistan. It will remain a wet dream for many.
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Balochi movement is also backed by a few middle eastern countries, but it would still be a negative for this too?
     
  18. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    Their involvement is is merely moral support, never taken seriously by my governement.
     
  19. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    this is a trailer of times to come, this is a clear victory for the taliban and dont be surprised if soon enough other mullas all over pakistan start demanding the implementation of sahria. this deal becomes even more so dangerous because it is seen as a meek surrender by the “almighty” pak army which had a reputation like none other in pakistan, probably second to ALLHA and were regarded highly professional, committed to the task, which all has taken a beating, though one has to admit this is a clear victory for the hardliners in the pak arm and the isi, who value “islamic” way of governance more than the one they have at the moment.


    this is the start of a radical pakistan and be rest assured if this is allowed to happen over a prolonged period of time pakistan would be completely different society/country in times to come. are we seeing the start of the end, hard to speculate but the pak establishment (PA & isi) has to be very careful as ttp has shown they (the PA) are not in complete control of the taliban and that would any day be a hell of a worry for them for it will take just one another 9/11 to see another afghanistan happen to most parts of pakistan and then there is also the nuke issue, so it will be in the interest of the pak establishment to not let the most imminent expansion of taliban in the other parts of pakistan and if they dont then i am convinced that this is the start of the end.


    this one development must have been viewed very keenly in parts of baluchistan and if they have taken their lessons well then see a sudden surge in uprise and violence in that part of the world in the coming months.


    the real concern are the nukes and one can imagine the change in attitude on there use when the mullas would run the show, which would not only be dangerous for india, or israel, but would be as dangerous for US, iran, russia, EU, and rest of the regions which have a differing view to the rather orthodox interpretors of islam. this is one reason why there remains so much interest in pakistan and to keep its life line sustained.


    will taliban be allowed to repeat a swat on the rest of pakistan, i very much doubt as i believe there are still quite a lot of sane heads in the power corridors of islamabad, and also the US interest being played around can never be underestimated (which will like to see the containment of these talibs) but in case they are over ruled, and their say is taken as hostage by the hardliners, ah well then one would say the show has just begun. “abhi picture baki hai mere dost”!
     
  20. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    I would not be so sure about USA and their intentions. Few years ago when the terror war was beginnning Musharraf asked Bush we will help you in WOT but can you assure Pakistan will remain intact? The answer is being given by USA now to that question.
     
  21. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Imran Khan advises US to strike a deal with Taliban

    Monday February 23, 2009 (1856 PST)

    WASHINGTON: Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has urged the United States to strike a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan on the pattern of the Swat pact, saying that the real threat was from the Al Qaeda.

    "The only way forward is dialogue, which is what (Afghan President) Hamid Karzai is finally saying. You have to start talking to the Taliban," Khan said.

    He warned that US President Barack Obama’s Afghan policy is ’exactly the same way as the mess’ made by the previous George W Bush administration. Pakistan had ’absolutely no choice’ other than to strike a deal with Taliban in Swat, he pointed out.

    "My biggest worry is that the Obama administration is going exactly the same way as the mess made by the Bush administration. It’s like the line from Alice in Wonderland. When you don’t know where you’re, every road takes you there," Khan was quoted as saying by CNN in an interview.

    Khan termed the peace deal with Taliban as ’fairly moderate’. He also asked Obama to stop the drone attacks inside Pakistani tribal areas, saying there can be no military solution to insurgency.

    "The Americans should have isolated Al Qaeda from the Taliban. The Taliban had nothing to do with terrorism. Yes, they were fundamentalists. But they were not terrorists."

    "The US’ attacks against the Taliban and then not being able to deliver on the promises of good governance brought things to the current mess in Afghanistan," he added.

    End.

    http://paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?211792
     

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