[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Pakistan pro-Taliban cleric charged
Sufi Mohammed is charged with terrorism and sedition days after he was arrested.
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2009 18:53 GMT
The army launched an offensive against pro-Taliban fighters in Swat after the peace deal failed [AFP]

Sufi Mohammed, the pro-Taliban cleric who negotiated a failed Swat valley peace deal in February, is facing charges of aiding terrorism and sedition.
 
The charges were lodged against Mohammed, who was arrested by Pakistani police last week after being warned against holding meetings in the Northwest Frontier Province, in a police station in the valley, said Sajid Mohmand, the Swat police chief, on Sunday.

Mohammed is expected to be formally charged by a court with the offences in the coming days, he said.

During the peace talks that he helped facilitate, the government agreed to allow Sharia, or Islamic law, in Swat in exchange for an end to fighting.

The deal, which did not materialise, was reached amid opposition from the US which is battling the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Major offensive

The charges in the complaint against Muhammed, who is the father-in-law of Maulana Fazllulah, the leader of the Taliban in Swat, stem from comments he made during an April speech in which he condemned democracy and elections and said Pakistan's constitution was un-Islamic.

The speech was considered to be an important factor in shifting public opinion against the Taliban.

Mohammed leads a group known as the Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammedi, or the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law.

Pakistan's government relied heavily on Muhammad's contacts with the Taliban in the Swat area to try to achieve a peace agreement earlier this year.

Military onslaught

He was jailed in 2002 but was freed last year after he renounced violence.

The Pakistani military launched a major offensive aimed at pushing pro-Taliban fighters out of the Swat after the peace deal with the government collapsed in April.

The fighting left more than 1,800 Taliban fighters dead, according to the military.

But analysts said that many of the fighters simply melted away into other areas in the face of the military onslaught.

Frequent skirmishes continue though Yusuf Reza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, last month declared that the Taliban fighters had been "eliminated" in the region.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
The seizure of the Tabqa airbase highlights the Islamic State's consolidation of power in eastern Syria, analysts say.
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
Parents unable to look after children are marrying them off at a tender age, exposing them to maternal deaths.
New measures needed as dozens of citizens fighting with Islamic State pose home-grown terror threat, PM Abbott says.
Israel has re-arrested dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank, an act a human rights group says is 'unjustified'.
join our mailing list