By Adil Zareef
"I cannot forecast to you the action of
Only last week, the Pak-India Forum for Peace and Democracy meeting scheduled in
Most ordinary folks ask the question: from where have the Sufi Mohammads, Nek Mohammads, Baitullah Mehsuds, Fazlullahs, Mangal Baghs, Namdaars and their ilk suddenly appeared and fortified their positions, taking the public hostage and challenging the state? Why do these things not happen in
As Swat's tenuous peace holds after a controversial agreement with the militants, cynics have termed it a total capitulation of the traditionally secular ANP and PPP to the Wahabi-sponsored movement supported by state
intelligence agencies. The argument goes like this.
The caretaker government led by former Chief Minister Shams ul Mulk had already prepared the blueprint of this deal with the establishment's man, Maulana Sufi Mohammad, who instigated the insurgency against the state for imposition of the Islamic system in 1994, and later on led thousands of gullible Pakhtuns to their deaths in
infrastructure. In fact, both men have been rewarded with this peace agreement.
According to one Swati academic, "The liberal intelligentsia is pitched against the Taliban backed by the agencies to enforce Wahabi Sharia in the entire Malakand division. As a result there is a stifling silence and suffocating fear.
In fact, Sufi Mohammad never signed the peace agreement but many others did on his behalf as Mullah Fazlullah was on a special umrah visit to
According to another source, the government made commitments to the militants some of which have not been made public. As a result, the militants have started roaming around freely and are doing what they had done previously. Very few residents in Kabal, Kanju, Matta and Mingora are convinced that militants would abide by the guarantees given in clauses 3-16 of the agreement.
Talking to the people of Swat, I found that they resent the fact that a few unrepresentative hardcore militants should decide their future. They feel that by acquiescing to the demand for complete Sharia, the provincial government may
further erode the credibility of the already vulnerable state institutions. No relief has been provided to the victims of the upheaval. To fill in the vacuum left by the destruction of institutions, a multi-pronged approach with a comprehensive participatory development plan and transparent governance is immediately needed. Both peace and development are essential components of this deal, which are not yet in sight.
Closer to Peshawar, in the Khyber Agency, Mangal Bagh representing the Lashkar-i- Islam is consolidating his position after eliminating all opposition. The recent gunning down of several followers of MNA Noor ul Haq Qadri's relatively
peaceful Qadriya silsila is equally disturbing with hardcore Taliban backers and notorious drug barons of the region having openly sided with the menacing Mangal Bagh brigade. The political authorities always look the other way.
When the killers of Qadri's men were nabbed by the authorities, they were immediately freed within hours through 'high level' contacts. People living in the area also say that whenever a new killing spree takes place, the security personnel conveniently disappear from the scene. A representative of the Shia Toori tribe in Parachinar also reported the political
authorities' pressure to give safe passage to the Taliban into
Banned FM radios go on and off sermonising to the people on their dress code, religious rituals etc. The presence of over 200 brand new vehicles is tolerated by the political authorities and no action is taken against them. The Lashkar-i-Islam has virtually taken over Bara tehsil and the public is subjected to heavy fines for missing a prayer. Even old men are ducked in water for not following one Islamic code or another. In fact, people live under the shadow of intimidation.
For this reason, the ANP-PPP's role has come in for a lot of flak from opponents for making a deal with hardcore Islamists. But Dr Minhaj ul Hasan who heads the history department at the
act together it may not be just pre-emptive missiles from across the border that we will get but the total obliteration of Fata and perhaps more!" he said.
A parody of Sufi poet Rehman Baba's famous lines is making waves these days, "Da sabab da jahilanoTalibano - kor au gor au Pekhawar dree wana yo di!" (On account of the illiterate Taliban - our homes and graves and