Signing of bill in Pakistan, introducing Islamic Sharia law to the Swat region, is government’s step towards Taliban

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 15  / Trend , D.Ibrahimova/

Signing of a bill in Pakistan, introducing Islamic Sharia law to the Swat region is government's step towards approaching to Taliban, which will cause a negative reaction in West.

"The Pakistan government has always claimed to be willing to reach an agreement with any section of the Taliban that lay down their arms," American expert for Pakistan Ayesha Jalal told Trend .

"Western countries as usual will freak out, just as the Pakistani drawing room crowd will," British expert for Pakistan Mustafa Daanish told Trend .

Pakistan's President Asif Zardari signed the law bill. Upon the law bill, Shariat laws will be introduced in Malakand province comprising six north-west regions, including Svat valley. A promise to introduce Sharia laws was given to Taliban in February 2009 in exchange for military actions ceasing in this province.

But the law bill has not been signed up to now because the western countries supporting Zardari oppose these deals.

The government's decision can be regarded as its action towards Talibs, experts said. Action of Pakistan's government can be estimated as attempt to be close with Talibs, Abdul l Hay Anis Pakistan's politician said. From other side, signing of the law bill can indicate at weakness of Pakistan's government, he said. 

"The government's actions can confirm the western countries' opinion that the country's government, especially, intelligence departments and military forces closely cooperate with Talibs," Anis told Trend over phone.

Taliban movement fights for creation of Islamic nation in Pakistan and foreign troops' leaving Afghanistan. Major part of Taliban is based in Pakistan, zone of independent tribes (Fatah) in north-west boundary province and Afghanistan.

Upon July report of 2001 made by the international independent organization on human rights Human Rights Watch, Pakistan's senior intelligence agency Inter-departmental intelligence subsidized military operations of Taliban, conducted trainings of their fighters, supplied them with arming and fuel and supported several military operations.

Pakistan's government is willing to have an agreement with local Taliban but it knows that this agreement will not be supported by more radical representatives of Taliban movement, Daanish said. "The government knows that Taliban movement is not going to stop," King's College (London) lector Daanish told trend News via E-mail. Pakistan's government has rich experience in operation with Taliban to think that anything can stop them to conduct extremist activity, he said.  

The movement has carried out an attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in April and explosion in the Embassy of India in August 2008. As a result of terrorist acts organized by the Movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing both military and civilians.

Experts believe that the bill would cause concern both in Western countries and Pakistan's neighbors.

"The reaction of the Western countries will no doubt be one of deep apprehension because they will see it as a first sign of the Taliban legitimizing themselves in a significant part of Pakistan,", Mary Richardson Professor of History Tufts University Prof. Jalal told Trend . The agreement has underlined is the shrinking writ of the Pakistani state and its unwillingness, at a time of growing anti-Americanism, to fight the Taliban to the last man. 

Signing of the bill could lead to destabilization in the South Asian region. If the Taliban will be "stronger" in the north of the country, then they will have the opportunity to supply arms to Afghanistan, which will cause instability in the region, said Anis.

"To my mind this is a brilliant move on part of the government which amounts to a propaganda coup for the provincial government against the Taliban. Now if something bad happens, which it inevitably will with the Taliban, the onus in the public opinion of Pakistan will be squarely upon the shoulders of the Taliban," Daanish said.

The Swat region is mainly controlled by the Taliban, and thousands of civilians have fled their homes since the outbreak of hostilities two years ago. The Sharia courts have begun to operate in the area in March of this year, and many locals welcome their appearance, seeing an effective form of justice.

The United States representative in the region Richard Holbrooke said that the Islamic fundamentalists in the Swat region were a common threat to Pakistan, India and the United States.

Washington has criticized Pakistan for previous agreements with extremists, fearing that it would allow them to regroup and arm, but President Obama talked about the possibility of negotiating with "representatives of Taliban.

T.Jafarov contributed in the article.

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