Talebanisation of Pakistan

February 16, 2009

The Pakistani government has caved into the demands of the Pakistani Taleban (PT) and will allow Sharia Law as defined by the PT to be introduced and enforced in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan in return for the laying down of their arms by militants who have been fighting Government forces.

While Taleban interpreted Sharia Law has been in low level use in this region for many years, this is the first time the Government has given its approval and backing of its extension under the auspices of the PT and in particular Taleban hardliner Sufi Mohammed, formerly of Jamaat-e-Islami and head of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law) and his son in law Maulana Fazlullah.

This is an enormously dangerous and backward step and is an acceptance that the Pakistani army has lost its battle in this region, and that the overspill from the battles in Afghanistan have had a direct impact on the decision making of the Pakistani Government. Sufi Mohammed it should be noted, arranged for thousands of his fighters to go to Afghanistan to fight coalition forces in 2001.

The Government’s decision is also evidence if any was needed that the current leadership of Pakistan simply does not have the stomach for a fight with extremists on the borders with Afghanistan and neither will they take preventative action to prevent supplies from reaching Taleban fighters in Afghanistan. It also gives the message to other groups in Pakistan, that if you fight hard and long enough, your goals will be realised.

If past actions are anything to go by, the education of all girls in the Swat region will be stopped as there are reports of 400 private schools enrolling 40,000 girls having already been shut down with ten schools for girls that tried to open after a 15 January 2009 deadline blown up by TNSM supporters. The TSNM will interpret Sharia Law how they see it – a severe and hardline version of Wahhabism, enforce and administer it, operate the courts themselves and carry out whatever punishment they deem is necessary. Pakistan has become a more dangerous and even more volatile country.

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Another New Anti Terrorism Strategy!

February 16, 2009

I am looking forward to viewing the BBC Panorama programme this evening in which details of a new Government counter terrorism strategy will be revealed.

The alleged aim of this new strategy will be to challenge Muslims who teach that Islam is incompatible with Western democracy and as Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker has already said to discontinue ‘to fund groups where we have evidence of them encouraging discrimination, undermining democracy and being ambiguous towards terrorism.’

All very well and well intentioned but if the Government hasn’t worked out 8 years after 9/11 and 18 months after 7/7 as well as numerous other atrocities who it should be funding and relying on for advice and assistance and who it should be avoiding, we have to ask and wonder what it has worked out?

I’ve often felt that there isn’t a cohesive Government strategy to deal with radicalisation of Muslims in the UK, and there are too many gimmicks and headline grabbing policies and proposals such as the 90 day detention and this last week to believe that anything the Government will do will prove effective. The relationships the Labour Government has built with the Muslim community is too narrow and focused primarily on maintaining the Muslim vote especially after the Iraq war rather than dealing with the concerns of Muslims and what it expects from them as fully signed up members of British Society. The embarrassing political sluttiness that Jack Straw and his cronies displayed at the last election in trying to get the Muslims to vote for Labour in Blackburn at all costs which I saw at the last general election was simply pathetic and those Muslims who danced to this tune were an embarrassment to their community.

I really do hope that an incoming Conservative Government gets to grips with the increased radicalisation in certain sections of the Muslim community and comes up with policies that are effective and sustained in the long term and not geared as this Government seems to be towards securing votes instead of dealing with the problem.