Our Beacon Forum

The Dubious Swat Deal With Taliban
By:Dr. Shabbir
Date: Wednesday, 18 February 2009, 9:30 pm

The efforts of NWFP provincial government are commendable for the restoration of peace and normalcy to Swat and Malakand division. The very recent peace agreement between provincial government and Maulana Sufi Muhammad of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) is a welcome development since, according to media reports, majority of the locals as well as analysts have supported the enforcement of 'Sharai Nizam-e-Adl Regulation' in Malakand division.

However, I would like to draw the attention of readers to some of the aspects, which relate to the implementation of this peace agreement and its consequences. My first sense is that militants have set a precedent by achieving this outcome through a long and barbarous armed struggle not through political and peaceful means. This precedent has a huge potential to be followed by people of other parts of the country especially those who have not been able to enjoy their constitutional and legal rights in this over-centralized federation and thus feel deprived and exploited.

The other aspect which comes to ones mind is the legality and constitutionality of this Regulation within the constitutional and legal framework of the country. The process may lead the country to another divided legal opinion, which may effect the successful implementation of the peace promise. Though these areas have a special arrangement under the provincial administered tribal areas (PATA).

The third aspect and, may be the most crucial one, is about the role and interests of those alleged elements, national and international, who want to destroy the peace prospects in these areas and destabilize Pakistan. If we believe in reports and claims about massive involvement of such elements in the Malakand and Swat blood bath, then they will never let their investment go waste under such peace deal and would therefore come up with new interventions to re-establish the writ of the bullet ruining the implementation prospects.

The enforcement of 'Sharai Nizam-e-Adl Regulation' may provide the local people rapid justice but to my knowledge among justice, socio-economic deprivation is also a critical subject, which somewhat equally matters to the people of these areas. Now it is unclear whether they will launch another such armed struggle to have a better bargain to get addressed their poor socio-economic conditions or our government will address it without that.

And finally, how our federal government especially President of Pakistan will respond to the complexity of situations. It is for sure that the peace deal has not been signed without the consent of President but it is correct too that the President is not acting independent of his habit of going back to his words when scene changes and of course the United State of America.

best regards

Faisal Nadeem