Deal depends on enforcement of Sharia: Taliban -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Deal depends on enforcement of Sharia: Taliban

PESHAWAR, May 22: Taliban militants in Swat said on Thursday that the success of the peace deal reached with the government on Wednesday depended on the enforcement of Islamic laws in the region.

The agreement is aimed at ending months of fighting between troops and militants loyal to a pro-Taliban commander, Maulana Fazlullah, who was campaigning for the introduction of Sharia.

Under the accord, the government agreed to gradually pull out troops and introduce an Islamic justice system, while the militants said they would halt attacks and surrender arms.

“We have accepted to give up the armed struggle because the government has agreed to the complete enforcement of Sharia laws,” Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said.

“We are happy about the agreement, but success depends on the conduct of the government, especially in enforcing Sharia laws,” Muslim Khan said by telephone from an unknown location.

Residents of the area said they were happy about the prospect of peace finally returning to the picturesque valley.

“Thank God, we will be able to live peacefully and resume our normal lives,” a shopkeeper in Mingora said.

A senior government official said ‘secular’ courts would be assisted by a religious scholar to decide disputes according to Islamic laws, but a parallel mainstream judicial system would still function.

“It will be the choice of the complainant whether to go for settlement according to Sharia or the Pakistan Penal Code,” he said.
Source: Dawn
Date:5/23/2008