[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Zardari agrees to Sharia in Swat
Pakistani president agrees to Islamic law being implemented in Taliban stronghold.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2009 11:27 GMT

Zardari signed off the controversial regulation after it won approval in the Pakistan parliament [AFP]

Pakistan's president has signed a regulation allowing the Taliban to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, in the country's northwestern Swat valley, a presidential aide has said.

Asif Ali Zardari signed the rule on Monday, Farahnaz Ispahani said. The move will bring peace to Swat and Baijur.

Zardari's move comes after members of the National Assembly urged him to sign the regulation in a resolution, in an attempt to promote peace in the violence-hit region and between the Taliban and Islamabad.

"The president had earlier come under severe criticism from the arbitrators of the accord [between the Taliban and the authorities]," Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said.

Sufi Mohammad, a religious leader helping mediate between the Taliban, the North West Frontier Province's provincial government and the central government, had in the past accused Islamabad of "dragging its feet" on implementing a deal, Hyder said.

Deal welcomed

The government of the NWFP had threatened to pull out of the alliance if the accord was not signed, Hyder said.

"The president sent the law to parliament and, in a surprise development, the parliament passed it immediately," he said. The law was then signed off by Zardari.

"The spokesman for the Taliban in Swat has welcomed the deal and so has Sufi Muhammad."

The agreement by the Pakistani government has been criticised by human rights groups and Western officials who say that the Swat valley could now become a safe haven for the Taliban and other armed groups.

"There is celebration in Swat and an expectation that the demands of the people might lead to a peaceful settlement, but others are questioning whether the Taliban will now relinquish their control of other Pakistani territories," Hyder said.

"The deal did mention that once the regulation on Sharia in Swat goes into effect, those people would disarm."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.