City of Brass

City of Brass

The Taliban win: Shari’a for Swat

There’s no other way to interpret this news, except simply as “the terrorists have won” in the full sense of the word:

Pakistan’s government
has agreed to restore sharia, or Islamic law, in the Swat valley and
neighbouring areas of the country’s northwest as part of a peace deal
with local pro-Taliban fighters.

Announcing the decision
to restore sharia, a spokesman for the NWFP government said Asif Ali
Zardari the president, had already agreed in principle to this
concession to the region’s religious conservatives.


“All un-Islamic laws related to the judicial system, those against
the Quran and Sunnah, would be subject to cancellation and considered
null and void,” a NWFP spokesman said in a statement following the

Officials gave
few details of the kind of sharia they were planning to implement in
the Malakand region, which includes Swat, but said that laws that fail
to comply with Islamic texts would been suspended.

The Pakistani government has also agreed its troops will refrain
from launching offensive operations in Swat as part of the deal

Note that last bit (my emphasis) – this isn’t just a change of laws on the books, but an outright admission that Pakistan’s government is no longer a governing entity in Swat. The disconnect between the Pakistani gov’t spin and the reality on the ground is made quite stark with the rather sardonic reporting by Al Jazeera:


Unlike regions under tribal
rule in the northwest, where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters have found
safe havens to launch attacks both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the
Pakistani government has typically controlled the Swat Valley.

Conservative groups aiming to introduce sharia have been fighting government troops in the region since 2007.

The groups took control there after a 2008 peace deal collapsed within months of being signed.

In what way is Swat different from the northwest tribal regions? It actually looks exactly the same.

As far as the War On Terror / Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism goes, Iraq is increasingly looking like a tactical victory, whereas in Pakistan we have a strategic loss.

Related: further coverage from the BBC. Also, my proposal to rename the War on Terror to WOMBAT is making more and more sense.

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posted February 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

I had read in a BBC report, back when I was more actively focused on the Afghanistan invasion, that Pakistan’s central government approves of the Taliban in a roughly 60% majority. I know there have been many goings on in Pakistan over the past couple of years, but if this estimate still holds true, I think more people should be concerned. It is amazing just how little many supporters of these invasions actually understand about the political and geo-political reasons behind them.
As for reintroducing sharia; I’m not even partly surprised. The peace and stability that the American government likes to crow about flourishing in their wake only exists so long as they are there to babysit it. The minute their backs are turned… this. As far as I’m concerned Afghanistan is a lost cause anyway. There have never been enough troops to secure what areas have been taken, so what you have happening is allied forces taking over one town, moving on to the next, and the Taliban sweeping in behind them (out of Pakistan’s boarders) and recapturing what was just liberated. It is happening over and over and nobody seems to be willing to address it. They just keep waving their little plastic flags and burying their fallen heroes en mass. The Taliban must be laughing themselves stupid.

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Lawrence of Arabia

posted February 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm

i thought the overall air of despair at the Daily Dawn was fairly indicative of how hopeless and helpless many in Pakistan feel right now. There was the piece on this “settlement” between the military and Sufi. There was a piece on how the military is gambling on American failure in the region and thus continuing their strong ties with militant groups who are no longer directable by the military. And then a piece on the degeneration of the independent judiciary, which is of course a long standing issue. All in all, somber stuff out of Pakistan at the moment.
best wishes,

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posted February 18, 2009 at 11:45 am

Great, finally now that the laws of Quran will be implemented we can have some serious debate started about the rights of Women in the Quran. The tragedy with Islam is the mis-interpretation and mis-representation of the text and context of the Quranic versus. I study the Quran adn let me assure you, women have a lot of rights that men have misconstrued to serve themselves, and then created Hadith to back it. In spirituality there is only equity. Equity for man and equity for women. Our roles our different, and as a Muslim i get sick in the stomach not with the men, but with the women continuing to dis-empower women and raising generations of men that continue to propogate the low female worth which is so contrary to Quranic teachings, finally lets open the book and get the real facts out and stop pretending Islam is against women. I cerainly welcome any debate

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Your Name

posted February 21, 2009 at 8:27 am

Indeed Anjum, you have hit the nail on the head. that is the whole tragedy of the so-called Muslim world. Living in the Western world as i am, there’s more Islam to be seen here that in the actual ‘false’ Islamic countries. The irony is that it was the Holy Phrophet (SAW) who initied the rights of women and the muslim world is ridiculing that as well as freedom of speech and tolerance. Islam itself means ‘peace';I see that in my daily routine in the western world. Prophet Muhammad(saw) denounced the worship of false deities and preached the Unity of Allah. He said that Allah alone was worthy of worship and nothing else was equal to Him. Muhammad(saw) helped the poor, liberated slaves and established equal rights of women. He told his followers to be patient during hardship and to pray to Allah. His mission was to eradicate evil and iniquity and to establish goodness and piety in the world.

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Your Name

posted February 21, 2009 at 8:34 am

While on this topic would like to write more: What is Islam?
Islam, a name given by Allah to this religion (Quran 5:4), is an Arabic word which literally means obedience and peace. ISLAM is derived from the Arabic root “SALEMA”: peace, purity, submission and obedience. So ‘Islam’ would mean the path of those who are obedient to Allah and who establish peace with Him and His creatures. Its followers are called Muslims.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says in the Quran:
“Say, `We believe in ALLAH and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to HIM we submit.” (Quran Chapter 3 verse 85)
He declared that God had particularly entrusted to him the task of safeguarding the rights of women.
He proclaimed in the name of God that man and woman by virtue of their humanity, were the equal of each other, and when they lived together, just as man had certain rights over woman, so had woman certain rights over man. Women could own property in the same way as men. A husband had no right to use the property of his wife, as long as the wife, of her own free will, did not let him have some of it. To seize her property by force, or in a manner which made it doubtful whether her natural shyness had not stood in the way of her refusal, was wrong. Whatever the husband of his own free will should give away to the wife, would be the property of the wife and the husband would not be able to take it back from her. She was to inherit the property of her parents just as well as her brothers. Only considering that all the family responsibilities fall on man, and woman’s concern is her own self alone, her share was to be one half of the share of man, that is, out of the property of their (deceased) parents.
Similarly a mother was to have a share in the property of her (deceased) son as well as the father. Only according to differing circumstances and the nature of her responsibilities in particular cases, she was to have a share at times equal to, and at times less than that of the father. On the death also of her husband she was to inherit, whether or not there were any children, because she was not to be condemned to a state of dependence on others.
Her marriage (it was granted) is, without doubt, a holy alliance, which, after man and woman have cultivated mutual intimacy to the extreme, it is very detestable to break. However, it cannot be that, even after a frightful divergence of nature has been found between the parties, or in spite of a religious, physical, economic, social or mental discrepancy between them, they should be compelled, in the interest of sheer alliance, to ruin their lives and kill the purpose of their existence.
When differences of this kind appear, and man and woman agree that they cannot live together, they can (it was taught), by mutual consent, revoke the alliance. If, however, only the husband should take this view, but not the wife, and if they fail to adjust themselves to each other, their affairs should be considered by a committee of two members, one representing the husband and the other the wife. If the committee should decide that the parties should yet make an effort to live together, it would be worthwhile on their part to try to settle their differences in the way recommended by the committee. Then if the understanding along this line should prove impossible, the husband could divorce the wife, but in such a case he would have no right to the return of whatever he might have (before divorce) given away to her, including the full value of mahr (marriage settlement).
If, on the other hand, the wife should seek separation, and not the husband, she should apply to the Qazi (Judge), and if the Qazi is satisfied that there is no unfair motive behind her application, he should order her separation. Only in such a case she will make over to the husband such of his property as had been entrusted to her, as also the value of mahr (marriage settlement). Should the husband fail to fulfil his marital obligations or cease to speak to her, or should ask her to sleep apart, he should not be able to go beyond a certain limit of time. If he persists for four months in this kind of treatment, he should be compelled either to reform himself or to divorce her.
Should he stop the allowances due to the wife or go away from her and no longer take care of her, their marriage should be regarded as null and void. (Three years have been assigned as the limit of the period of abandonment by Muslim jurists). The wife would now be free to marry again.

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