“Sharia” in Malakand: Another stab in Pakistan’s heart

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Once again the Pakistan People’s Party has disappointed its followers. And once again Awami National Party has made the worst compromise possible. For PPP it a is a throwback to the 1970s when the same configurations had delivered an “Islamic” constitution and ultimately an amendment that turned Ahmadis into Non-Muslims overnight. All this was done in the name of Islam by a party which otherwise prided itself on being liberal. For ANP it harks back to when its forerunner the Indian National Congress  encouraged the Islamic clergy in the name of Khilafat.

This time the scene is NWFP. Sharia has been enforced by the “Secular” ANP in Malakand division. Yet another bunch- the MMA- has hailed this as the fulfillment of the ideology of Pakistan. How ironic that the antecedents of ANP and the MMA had largely opposed the creation of Pakistan and had opposed Jinnah on several grounds inter alia that he was too secular and irreligious. Yet today they are harking back to the ideology of Pakistan to justify their act of ultimate compromise.

The truth is that Jinnah’s approach was secular though he did at times appeal to Islamic principles of equality, fraternity and social justice largely to give the religious multitudes of Pakistan a religious justification for his vision of an egalitarian and pluralistic republic. It is also true that Jinnah had promised Pir of Manki Sharif in a letter that laws of Pakistan would not be in conflict with sharia and that Muslim community’s matters shall be governed by Islamic law. As a lawyer he saw general principles of Islamic jurisprudence working as complementary to Pakistan’s English legal system, especially when it came to personal law. The English legal system had worked harmoniously with communal codes of India at large and Jinnah hoped no doubt that in the Muslim majority state would continue that tradition of English Legal System.  As a liberal and westernized Muslim born in the Aga Khani Ismaili school of minority shiaism,   Jinnah could not imagine Islam being in conflict with modernity and human rights.

The imposition of a selective and retrogressive interpretation of Islam as a parallel system to the constitution and legal system of the country in any part of the country is in contravention to the very idea of Pakistan as an enlightened and modern state that it was envisaged by its founding father. It is a break-away from the liberal Muslim national consciousness that rose up atop twin planks of modernity and women’s empowerment which ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan. The protagonists of this retrogressive system are the same people who opposed the creation of Pakistan tooth and nail. It is also designed to malign the good name of Islam by enacting archaic and backward laws in its name. It is the patriotic duty of every Pakistani and Muslim to oppose this opportunistic implementation of selective laws designed to malign Pakistan and Islam alike.


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57 responses to ““Sharia” in Malakand: Another stab in Pakistan’s heart

  1. Pingback: “Sharia” in Malakand: Another stab in Pakistan’s heart | All Viral Emails

  2. Adnann


    Jinnah must have turned another one in his grave today. When the most secular of the parties in Pakistan accede to the demands of implementing Sharia, it indicates extremely poor judgment, and the beginning of a chain of events that will likely result in more confrontations between extremists and the State, all across Pakistan.

    The state has repeatedly overlooked that extremists that were sheltered in the NWFP and Northern Areas were never going to stay localized in those areas. Their goal is not to implement their version of Islam simply in FATA, Malakand or Swat. The divine law needs not to be imposed simply in small pockets of Pakistan, it has to be all across. Lal Masjid episode is a good example of what is in store for the rest of the Pakistan. Peace accords in FATA and Swat have repeatedly failed. And this one will fail too as militants will either

    1) point out that the Sharia is not been implemented in its true spirit, according to the militants’ wishes, or 2) Since Sharia is divine law, it stands to be promulgated across the rest of the nation too.

    Pakistan is reaping what it has sowed over last decades. Reading Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars” and Ahmad Rashid’s “Descent into Chaos” painfully reminds us of the disastrous policy that Pakistan played in Afghanistan. In its pursuit of so called strategic depth, and its virulent antipathy towards India resulted in Pakistan (and especially the ISI) raising this very Frankenstein that is coming back to destroy its very own creator.

    I love my country, and I try to stay an optimist; but today’s developments are devastating turn of events for Pakistan.


  3. Adil

    Allah ka zameen pe Allah ka Qanoon. What’s wrong with it Mr. Hamdani? Are you a Mirzai?

  4. stuka

    So what exactly does this deal mean? That Saudi Arabia style sharia will be implemented in Swat? I am confused about some of the terminology being thrown around in media reports. Sharia is used in Muslim personal law in India but not in criminal law and that’s not been a major issue.

    Essentially, can you address the implications of the deal in terms of matters on the ground?

  5. Rafay Kashmiri

    @ PPP has always betrayed its own members
    as all its leaders did for the last 40 years,
    they are there to manufacture pure treason
    against Pakistan and Islam. Qadianis would
    have been declared non-muslims already in
    1963 consititution, but MMAhmed, Zafarullah,
    and their Khalifa Bashiruddin used their
    sectarian influence in Pak
    For. Ministry to discard it.
    If evil Bhutto agreed to do so, its not because
    he was a sincere muslim, it was because he
    would have been decapitated earlier.
    its ” Islamicity ” is not due to Bhutto’s efforts,
    or declaring non-believers on the finality of
    Prophet Muhammed (SAW) a non-muslim.

    If NWFP will have shariat courts, why not ?
    all other courts were proved corrupt and
    inefficient, western bootlicking Brit laws.

    Secualr pro-India Gandhist traitors
    ANP is eliminated in NWFP with its 3/4
    leadership hanged or executed by Takfiris.
    The rest has taken refuge in Islamabad .
    The only one left in Peshawar is Hoti CM.

    Patriotic Talibans must take over and establish
    law and order first, eliminate all traitors of
    Takfiris, Tehriki and Kharijit agents of
    Indo-Israeli CIA consortium of terrorism,
    establish consultations and choose their
    laws, Swat was run by Wali-e-Sawat and
    Islamaic laws prevailed since 300 years.

    What a stupid title stabing Pakistan, while
    Pakistan is killed on daily basis by her traitor
    politicians and sectarian hidden American

  6. Majumdar

    Yasser mian,

    As I see it, it is the failure of the Pak civilians to force the Pak Army to do their bidding- fight the Talibs. Once the Pak Army refused, the ANP had no choice but to cave in. For them to take Talibs straight on without Pak Army support wud be like venturing into a hurricane with nothing but an umbrella on.

    I suggest you check out HP saeen’s thread on Chowk UP.


  7. Ah … keep giving into the obscurantist forces and soon, we will not have anything to bargain with them, perhaps not even the country as we have known it for the past 37 years.

  8. alokks

    whether jinnah was for it or against it is immaterial…this is not a time to keep sitting on the fence….though YLH takes great pains at always explaining why all that is happening is against the founding principles of pakistan and its founder…i think its time to de-link these issues to de-emphasise history and just proceed with the future

    probably a focus on the vitiating impact of shariah related laws imposed by a militant group should be unacceptable in itself wherever it happens in pakistan or any other country

    as a very very concerned person, looking at the situation froma distance i wonder whats the pakistan army’s take on all this? Does it gain by any of these?

  9. YLH


    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Since it is already there in personal law, there is absolutely no need for this dramay bazi.


    Who is going to decide what Allah Ka Qanoon is anyway? You? Or this crazy Rafay kashmiri?

    Pakistan’s constitution does not allow such parallel system in any event. If you want sharia, you should try and form consensus and bring exisitng laws in conformity with Islam – as you see fit- instead of violating the constitutional rights of Pakistani citizens.

  10. YLH


    With all due respect, this is just an excuse by ANP.

    Let us not give these fellows any margin of doubt. After their old history from day one is apparent… they sided with Fakir of Ipi when he used the name of “Sharia” and rose in revolt against Jinnah’s government …

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    rafay mian,

    Could you give us some evidence as to where and when the Ahmadis were going to resort to sectarian violence?

    I think you meant 1953 and not 1963 and the violence was carried out against Ahmadis by your Majlis-e-Ahrar (you keep calling ANP pro-India, but what about Majlis-e-Ahrar which was part of the Congress and was its Islamist wing )….

    Have some shame. Try and tell the truth for once. How long are people like you going to keep lying?

    The reason why Bhutto did in 1974 was because he feared a same kind of establishment use of Mullahs …the kind that had Nazimuddin removed. The difference was that Muslim League PM Nazimuddin did not give into the demands of the Mullahs … Bhutto did.

    In all of this… Mullahs were the pawns in the hands of the establishment just like once they were pawns in the hands of Gandhian congress.

  12. harri

    Well written !!Its an open secret of the conspiracies by the ISI and other security agencies whom have always performed the worst things for their interests.
    Whom could forget the Bengali Genocide,whom can forget the killings of innocent people in All provincies generally and in Baluchistan particularly.Many more worst examples can be given and now the date instrument is for the pakistani security agencies is that first they breed,harbour and financied these all extremist elements in the society and after getting the job done they will kill them for their own interest and sake,Lal Mosque is an example and the so called Holy Jihad is another example.
    A sad day as this Pact is done when all the secular elements have been killed by Taliban and other security forces.Now as the ISI wants to save guard these elements now thye did this Worst Pact with them and to save their interests!!

  13. rishabh

    YLH…do you need to revisit Congress/Gandhi/Jinnah everytime to be able to reflect on SWAT.

  14. takhalus

    this is a continuation of the Nizam-e-adl laws passed by the PPP in 1994 and PML passed in 1999. If anything the ANP is being criticised for taking such a long time in passing these laws. With regard to the dichotomy of law I am afraid thats been a reality in Pakistan for ages…the provincial govenment has no authority to legislate in the malkand agency without consent of the federak gov as per the constitution.

  15. Majumdar

    Yasser mian,

    this is just an excuse by ANP.

    I dont think so. If that was the case why have so many ANP wallahs been bumped off, why are many ANP leaders in the hiding. And how come Pak military can’t shut down Maulana Radio’s radio? How come Pak army allows the Talibs to capture towns (not remote villages mind you, but towns)?

    Mullahs …the kind that had Nazimuddin removed.

    I think that is very simplistic. People who removed Nazimuddin, actually more to be precise Pak democracy were not Mullahs, they were small fries in comparison to the real villains- the Establishment led by Ayub, Mirza and GM. Had the Q agitation not taken place some other thing wud have come handy. Let us not also forget that his dismissal and that of the CA was upheld by Justice Munir, the same guy who has made the most devastating critique of Mullahism.

    And yes Nazimuddin was made of far sterner stuff compared to today’s men of straw.


  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    I meant the establishment’s cynical use of the Mullahs … so I said exactly what you are saying Majumdar.

    About ANP… again you are saying the same thing as I am. ANP is doing this because it is scared of its own people… but there is nothing new in this. ANP’s antecedents supported Fakir of Ipi’s Nifaz-e-Shariat jehad once. The only difference is that now there is this added issue of ANP wallahs getting bumped off… why? Not because it is the ANP … but because ANP is in the government.

    Yesterday the target was Aftab Sherpao and his party … now it is ANP.

  17. Adil


    {EDITED} Pakistan was made for Islam.

    Your article is meant to tarnish the image of Pakistan.

  18. Adil

    Quran and Hadees form the basis for Shariah hukumat in Pakistan.


  19. Rabia

    does anyone have a link to the full text of any of the iterations of the nizam-e-adal regulation?

  20. hayyer48

    As is evident from the comments even readers of PTH are split on the Sharia issue.
    Be that as it may, is Pakistan really under some kind of severe threat from the Taliban; as Zardari seemed to fear. He did say, did he not, that the Pakistani Taliban were far more widely dispersed than commonly believed. (Excuse the paraphrasing; I am quoting from an inexact memory).

  21. Adnann

    Adil’s small 17 word reply. “God’s earth, God’s rule. Are you a Mirzai Mr. Hamdani” is quite a bit familiar.

    These words have been uttered in subtly different context before. Chants of “Heretics: God’s earth God’s rule” were commonplace during European inquisitions while the “heretics” were burnt on stakes.

    History is replete with every religious order persecuting the other one in the name of their own religion. Taliban will not be any different. They will not outmatch any other fanatical order before them in brutality; they are simply a continuation, and another small footprint in history when it comes to divinely mandated orders, wreaking havoc in the name of religion and getting annihilated due to their own nihilistic policies.

    Hey but this doesn’t matter much, does it? The primary objective of promulgating divine law trumps all these small considerations.


  22. Adnann Syed

    Here is a link to the scanned copy of the agreement, with a rough translation below:

    After the successful agreement between Maulana Sufi Muhammad (MSM) and the Provincial Government (PG), it has been decided by the PG that all laws in the justice system in Malakand Division (including District Kohistan Hazara) repugnant to Quran and Hadith will be abolished. The four tenants of Prophet’s Shariat (Book of God, Sunnah, Ijm’a and Qiya’s) will form the basis of this justice system, and no ruling in contravention of these four tenants will be acceptable. The final arbiter in this system will be the Shariat Bench at the divisional level.

    The Shariat Justice system will be implemented in total in Malakand (including district Kohistan Hazara) after delving in individual details in complete consultation with MSM. We request MSM that he forgoes his peaceful protest, and help the government in ensuring peace in all areas of the Malakand Division.

    Provincial Minister of Communications and Transport
    Provincial Minister of Livestock and Dairy Development
    Secretary of Interior
    Secretary of Law
    Two other government signatories

    3 Signatories from TNSM


    P.S. I think my full name is more appropriate here at PTH. Simply signing off as “Adnann” is too disturbingly close to other Adnans that traverse this forum, and after reading them, I would probably never want to be confused with.

  23. Adnan Yusuf

    So you people are more interested in what “system” is going on in a part of Pakistan or for that matter in the whole of Pakistan, and not so interested in what will bring about peace and relief to the people.

    We claim that Pakistan is a democratic country and yet for a very substantial period of time it has been under martial law and dictatorship. We claim that democracy is “government of the people, for the people, by the people” and yet when the people of Swat want a form of law – system in their area we don’t agree. Why??

    I am sure many of you people don’t know how many people have lost their homes, jobs and other things that we value most in this conflict. Many people who belonged to the middle and upper class families fled to Peshawar, Pindi, Mansehra or other cities where they started tried to start living anew, always looking back at the conflict in Swat to end. The poor couldn’t and suffered the most, and even if some did move out they had no where to live and no source of income.

    When the situation seems to be getting better albeit in a way that most of us don’t agree, we give references to western books and state our predictions on how the “Taliban” will now become stronger. I just wish that you somehow develop the empathy to feel the loss suffered by the people of Swat.

    Why can’t we let the people of Swat decide what kind of system they want. If the system is “bad” or “unjust” or anyother thing it will erode in time and I assure you the time that it stays will atleast be better than what is happening in Swat now.

    Adnan Yusuf

    P.S: Why isn’t the M.Q.M in Karachi seen they same way the “Taliban” are seen in Swat?

  24. aloks

    Sharia Zone: One solution for pakistan

    The civil war underway in the tribal areas and a large part of the Frontier province, including Swat, presents the biggest challenge Pakistan has ever faced. At stake is not only the integrity of the state but also the nature of its polity. The odds are heavily stacked against Pakistan’s survival as a democracy.

    This grave situation has been created by a combination of several factors. The authors of the Pakistan demand may not have wanted to establish a religious state, but their argument was derived wholly from the religious identity of the population of the designated territory. Soon after the new state came into being, enforcement of Shariah rule was demanded. This demand has never been opposed. Instead, the state has been yielding to the clerics throughout its 61 years.

    Between 1949, when the Objectives Resolution was adopted, and 1979, when the Federal Shariat Court was established with powers to strike down any law considered to be repugnant to Islamic injunctions, Pakistan repeatedly affirmed its constitutional obligation to enforce the Shariah.

    In addition, the armed forces were indoctrinated in a religious context as General Ziaul Haq’s rule to reserve senior posts for genuine Islamists remained in force for a decade. These historical precedents are enough to convince a militant in Swat that he is only asking the state to honour its constitutional pledge.

    On another point, the state chose to avoid integrating the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) with the rest of the country. In 1994, when a movement for enforcing Shariah in place of the archaic Frontier Crimes Regulation began in PATA, the government obliged by setting up Qazi courts. This did not satisfy the clerics and they were accommodated further in 1999. Dissatisfied again, the agitators decided that instead of asking the state to enforce the Shariah, they would do the job themselves.

    Meanwhile, world powers failed to ensure the establishment of a government of national unity in Afghanistan after the fall of the Najibullah regime. The vacuum was filled by religions militants who had been trained, among other things, to carry out terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings. Thus, over the last few years, a vast territory comprising Afghanistan, FATA, and the former PATA districts, has become a theatre of a war. US and Nato forces are fighting the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pakistan Army is battling with the tribal militants, the self-styled Pakistani Taliban.

    As things stand, the US’s ability to win the new Afghan war in coming years seems doubtful. Neither the US nor Nato has an exit strategy. Only two possibilities emerge: either the messy war will continue for another decade, or the Taliban will be brought into the ruling coalition which they will eventually dominate. In either case, Pakistan will be buffeted by almost irresistible storms.

    If fighting continues in Afghanistan, militants from the tribal areas keep up their fight there alongside the Taliban. Consequently, militancy in Pakistani territories would grow. The US pressure on Islamabad to fight the extremists and the latter’s inability to comply could strain relations to a breaking point. In that event, the survival test for Pakistan would be tough.

    If Taliban of any hue come into power in Afghanistan, the pressure on Pakistan to allow a similar dispensation in the Frontier region will increase manifold. Even now, the tribal areas are not prepared to merge with the NWFP. In future, they may claim freedom to join Pakistan or Afghanistan, and in the latter case, they may well want to take NWFP along – a possibility many Pakhtuns may not choose to resist.

    Whatever happens in Afghanistan, Pakistan will face in FATA and perhaps the NWFP a situation that resembles the present US predicament. The Pakistan Army may have the capacity to lay the territory to waste while killing hordes of people, but it will not – and cannot – do that. For one thing, the army will risk its unity if it strikes out against ideological allies and, for another, the state will be overwhelmed in the aftermath of an unwelcome war.

    The sole option will be to buy a truce by separating the Shariah lobby from the terrorists and creating FATA and PATA as a Shariah zone, which may quickly encompass the Frontier province. The question then will be whether Pakistan can contain the pro-Shariah forces within the Frontier region.

    In such an eventuality, the hardest task for the government will be to protect the Punjab against inroads by militants. Already, religious extremists have strong bases across the province and sympathizers in all arenas: political parties, services, the judiciary, the middle class, and even the media. For its part, the government is handicapped because of its failure to offer good governance, guarantee livelihoods, and restore people’s faith in the frayed judicial system.

    This bleak prospect can be averted only through a bold, imaginative, and wide-ranging strategy. An order presided over by clerics will not guarantee deliverance to the Frontier region as matters have perhaps gone too far to be reversed. The fact is, people will reject theocracy only after paying the cost of opting for it. Pakistan should think of minimizing the damage by granting full autonomy to FATA and the Frontier province in the hope that this will douse the fires.

    For the rest of Pakistan, the government will have to resolve its meaningless row with the judiciary and lawyers, work by a broad political consensus, and wean the people away from parallel courts through visible improvements in the system of justice and policing.

    Ultimately, the key to a safe future lies in Afghanistan. The war there must be brought to a speedy end. It is posing a greater threat to Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, India, and the Central Asian states than to the US. A way must be found to bring all these countries and the US together at a table to evolve a mechanism by which to bring peace to that thoroughly ravaged land. The task is not impossible. But one wonders whether Pakistan has the will and the resources to escape falling into the well its myopic soldiers of fortune have dug for others.

    I. A. Rehman is a leading human rights advocate, a prominent art critic, and a well-known columnist. He is also a founding member of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, and a councilmember of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

  25. yasserlatifhamdani

    Adnan Yusuf,

    Democracy exists in a constitutional framework. if the people want it they should elect their representatives who should fight for it constitutionally.

    You say people of Swat want it …pray tell who held what referendum to prove it.

    Everybody said Wali Swat ruled with Islamic law…true but Wali Swat’s Islamic law did not persecute women for going to school.

    If a people want a system they must also ensure that the system does not violate the rights of citizens.

  26. yasserlatifhamdani

    Adil mian,

    It is people like you who tarnish the image of Pakistan not people like me.

    Must upset you greatly to know that the Lahore resolution was drafted and vetted by none other than Mirzai Sir Zafrullah who was lated appointed the first foreign minister of Pakistan and that heading constitution-making efforts in Jinnah’s time was a scheduled Caste Hindu who was also Pakistan’s first law minister.

  27. Once again our friend reappeared with his old mentality & once again pushing the Ahmadi agenda by Saying

    “Once again the Pakistan People’s Party has disappointed its followers. And once again Awami National Party has made the worst compromise possible. For PPP it a is a throwback to the 1970s when the same configurations had delivered an “Islamic” constitution and ultimately an amendment that turned Ahmadis into Non-Muslims overnight”

    Ahmadies were declared non Muslims after the two months of discussion in 28 sessions of national assembly where representatives of whole nation unanimously passes the resolution. {EDITED}


  28. Pingback: On the Sharia Deal in Pakistan « The STRUCTURE of ENTROPY

  29. Dear Friends
    This thread is soon turning into a sectarian discussion and this was neither the intent nor the objective of the post.
    YLH’s remarks on PPP declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims were NOT the subject or theme of this post. Therefore we cannot entertain more comments on this issue.

    Kashif: you are welcome to contribute a post on this subject and we will give it space. But not here please. We have enough to deal with lest we re-open another issue here. Your point has been taken on the debate for 28 days in the parliament. apologies that your recent comment has been moderated.

    Let us stay focused here please.
    Raza Rumi

  30. Isnt it interesting that there are no females jumping up and down at what happened in Swat and Malakand? I know i am not! …. Islamic laws have not changed since Ghazali decided that every question has been answered and so there is not need for Ijtehad in Islamic Jurisprudence and so we are stuck in the 14th century!
    Islam is a living religion for all times to come and for all people of the world; this cannot be possible if we revert to stoning and beheading. Civilization must take us forward and not backward which basically was the reason for Ijtehad in the first place.
    “Civilization” is measured by how the individual is treated in a society; how much compassion each individual has for others.

  31. yasserlatifhamdani


    I don’t accept the 28 day debate point either because the constitution did not empower the national assembly on the issue. Two months is a joke. A house cannot take a decision it doesn’t have power to take. Constitution limits sovereignty of the parliament.

    I am not going to elaborate on this issue given that we wish to steer the debate away.

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    There are better ways and more substantial ways in which Pakistan has taken Islamic principles and legislated on them. Look at the Pre-emption Act- the inspiration for the Pre-emption act is the Quran and Sunnah. It is the finest law out there.

    The dramaybazi in Swat is not Islam or Islamic shariat.

  33. rhodoraonline

    In the survey of Pakistani people by Terror Free Tomorrow, 36.8% of the people rated applying sharia law throughout Pakistan as a very important goal for the government.
    From the Gallup survey WHO SPEAKS FOR ISLAM: “In only a few countries did a majority say that Sharia should have no role in society; yet in most countries, only a minority want Sharia as “the only source” of law. In Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, majorities want Sharia as the “only source” of legislation.
    Most surprising is the absence of systemic differences in many countries between males and females in their support for Sharia as the only source of legislation.”
    I am agree with Adnan Yusuf but I also feel that NWFP people’s honest wish for Islami law may be abused by the militants whose version of sharia is extremely unauthentic.

  34. yasserlatifhamdani

    The question bound to come up is “which sharia”?

    Good or bad there is a constitutional framework for Islamic law. Why not follow that?

  35. simply61

    As Zeenath mentioned, what will be the woman’s position in these Sharia compliant areas.What kind of laws are they talking about……the ones based on the broader Islamic principles of “justice,equality and peace” or the narrow ones of “floggings,no educaton for women,no freedom of movement for women,the beheadings and amputations,stonings” etc etc? Who is going to decide what really are Allah’s Qanoons and which are simply the Mullah’s Qanoon’s enforced to get undiluted power over ordinary citizens in general and women in particular?

    To the commentator who wrote this: Why can’t we let the people of Swat decide what kind of system they want? If the system is “bad” or “unjust” or anyother thing it will erode in time …….”

    Have you considered that by the time these “erode with time” a whole genaration of radicalised young men who know only the feel of guns in their hands and women with no education at all might have grown up.Who will undo that damage later on?Does Pakistan really need to( or can afford to) raise a lost generation?

  36. takhalus


    Except Jamaat-e-Islami, all other political and religious parties and public representatives from Malakand Division participated in the consultative meeting (jirga) held at Chief Minister’s House about Nizam-e-Adl Regulation Tuesday and appreciated the move as a step towards peace in the volatile Swat valley.

    Local leaders and representatives of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-S, Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid attended the hours-long consultative meeting, in which the ANP-led provincial coalition government announced implementation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation.

  37. Pingback: Voilent protests against Ahmadis in Layyah « Random Chusses…

  38. Monkey

    In complete agreement with simply61. Let’s not look at a country because then we will have to consider all kinds of political aspects, but even in a family, if one child wants to play loud music at 3 a.m. disturbing everyone’s sleep, should the parents allow that??? I know it’s a stupid and perhaps too simplistic an example, but it makes the point…there has to be a power above everyone else’s which should be the government or else everybody will do whatever the hell they want. Autonomy is good but there has to be some law that reigns supreme. Even if the Swati people want the kind of Shariah that the Taliban want to impose, it’s still not fair to the rest of the country where people may not want that law but will become susceptible to it. The Taliban are not going to stop there, they are insane, barbaric jaahils – all these mullahs. Their next demand would beyond doubt be Islamabad. What will our idiot leaders do then? This movement needs to be crushed…it’s inhuman and no law that is inhuman should be allowed to be imposed – Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Secular, whichever. Religion needs to be cut out of politics…it should have no place other than in people’s personal lives.

  39. alok

    Pakistan’s Hellish Road to Paradise

    What can we do when one man’s Paradise is another man’s brutal dictatorship? This question faces the world once again with regard to Pakistan. It was announced on February 16th that the Pakistani government had reached an agreement with the pro-Taliban insurgents in the turbulent northwest region of that country. In exchange for peace, the government agreed to institute Shariah law, based on Islamic principles of jurisprudence.

    The news sent a shudder through much of the world, even among those who fervently extend respect and good will toward Islam. Although the Pakistani government tried to put a good face on it, calling the agreement essentially a technicality (apparently there has always been a statue that prohibits any law that contradicts the Koran), it’s obvious that the rebels were winning. With 3,000 fighters in the mountainous Swat Valley, the main area of conflict, the pro-Taliban forces were vastly outnumbered by 12,000 army soldiers. But as so often happens, guerilla tactics had the upper hand over tanks, trucks, and artillery. The rebels were merely gaining official sanction for the stranglehold they already have in the region.

    Why does Paradise enter into this uneasy truce? When they seized control in Afghanistan, the Taliban declared that they were turning it into an Islamic Paradise. The implications of that term are now being repeated in Pakistan: denial of all women’s rights, including medical care and education, the destruction of girls’ schools, public beheading of offenders against the faith, without trial. Already the rebels have forbidden dancing, watching television, and the shaving of beards. In exchange for an end to the insurgency, the Pakistani government has consigned a once-mainstream area of the country to a forced regression back to medievalism.

    The world found this to be an intolerable state of affairs in Afghanistan a decade ago, but without the 9/11 attacks, no country was willing to intervene. Now the dilemma has multiplied in difficulty. Pakistan is an ally who doesn’t want American military intervention. It possesses nuclear weapons and a weak regime increasingly powerless in the face of extremism. President Obama’s promise to find and capture Osama bin Laden is basically nullified now that the region where he is likely to be hiding has officially become a de facto Taliban province.

    I’ve laid this grim situation out in order to pose the question: When oppression strikes, is there an alternative to military intervention? The unilateral invasion that the Bush administration engineered in Afghanistan isn’t an option here and has proved a failure in any case. Nor can we ignore the outside destabilization that allowed extremists to arise in the first place. The basic issue is whether the moral outrage of the non-Islamic world has more right on its side than the general approval (or passive acquiescence) of hundreds of millions of Muslims. They are in uneasy accord with the Taliban’s Paradise. This is an acute case of the post-colonial dilemma. The unlawfulness of colonial rule doesn’t escape the mind of any Arab; therefore, insistence from the West that Muslims must change their ways — including Shariah law — creates resistance, anger, and intransigence.

    Nor is this a case where negotiation holds any short-term promise. It is a cultural belief among Muslims, going back many centuries, that religious law and medieval social norms should be honored and upheld over any incursion from non-believers. The educated elite in Muslim countries are Westernized, yet they pay lip service to the rule of mullahs, ayatollahs, and clerics in general (the Taliban holds itself to be a clerical reform movement, “reform” meaning the extirpation of secular modernism).

    Thus the Muslim world stands between two stools. The vast majority lead lives steeped in modern amenities like electricity, television, cars, antibiotics, etc. But spiritually there is a yearning for a long-lost and largely mythical Paradise in which the Prophet’s every word is reality. Today each of us must ponder this dilemma as uneasily as past history pondered slavery, imperialism, fascism, and militant Communism. What to do? Our only tools are negotiation, humane entreaty by the UN, persuasion, moral witness, patience, and a change in consciousness. In the long run, the trend has always been to benefit and uphold tolerance over intolerance, freedom over oppression, and common humanity over inhumanity. But the long run can seem like an eternity, and it does no good for the innocent citizens held in the vicious grip of extremists.

    Deepak Chopra

  40. Danial Burki

    Thank you, Mr Hamdani, for speaking out against this absolutely ridiculous decision that will further embolden these terrorist barbarians.

    The ANP government in Peshawar, after several targeted killings of their leaders, has simply lost the will to fight. An interview with Chief Minister Hoti was published in the Daily Times a few days ago, and it was apparent that he simply wanted to get away from the violence, whatever its cost.

    However, this deal was struck with Sufi Mohammad, who has no real authority in Swat anyway. The real power-holder in the valley is Mullah Faz-Lullah, who has only suspended violence to tease the government, because he knows just as well as other sane minds do, that this will not last.

    Consider: under this sharia regulation, sharia courts will be established. Who will appoint judges to these courts? Where will appeals go? Who will enforce decisions? Is there a stable police setup in Swat? Has the state magically regained its writ?

    These terrorists will not pack up and leave. They want absolute control and do not even consider the state of Pakistan as legitimate.

    They want ‘shahadat’? Let’s give it to them. And I hope that when they reach their heaven, the 72 virgins are all crotch-scratching smelly men from any square of Pakistan.

  41. lal

    The truce was signed one day after hoolbroke visit,ryt….interesting…

  42. Danial Burki

    An excellent editorial on the issue (as well as the drone base ‘revelation’) in The Times:

  43. Katie

    Do you think either side will keep up their end of the deal? I think it is was a necessary agreement for eventually having peace in this part of the world, but do you this they will follow through? I am not sure, but am interested to keep following the story as it unfolds. I saw a very unique video taking about the same topic, but I couldn’t believe the perspectives they gave. BBC, France 24, Outlook India, Tehran Times and more. Very appealing and affecting for those who enjoy expansive news coverage.


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  45. For those who have objected to this piece as anti-Islam etc. let it be clear that there is no single unified set of laws and rules called Sharia. There are many interpretations of Islam and therefore no uniform version…

    Hence a particular version of Islam and Shariah enforced at gunpoint is not the best of solutions to a wider problem

    had there been a referendum or an electoral exercise seeking the views of the inhabitants of Malakand/Swat, then we would have been within the limits of law, constitution and democracy .
    This is why this whole deal is problematic.

  46. Anwar

    If civil courts had done their work honestly, people of Swat never would have opted for Shariah…. what these guys are actually promising is quick justice… and that is the bait…

  47. Monkey

    @ Anwar: you are absolutely right. The situation speaks volumes of numerous counts on (at?) which the state has failed.

  48. azhar aslam

    would anyone here like to take part in a conference ‘ Shariat e Muhammadi Kya hey’ ? any one willing to speak ?

  49. aloks

    interesting take on ‘fundamentalism’ by Rubina saigol

    the 3rd myth where she takes on the so called secular brigade ‘from jinnah to ANP’ is unconventional


  50. yasserlatifhamdani

    alok mian,

    Vis a vis Rubina Saigol’s article:

    She has got several things completely wrong vis a vis Jinnah. Most of the religious right was opposed to the two nation concept that Jinnah had expounded in 1940 … that Muslim identity has existed in history as a factor is an undeniable fact of history… Jinnah was only a very reluctant convert to the this identity… but his push through out was for political and economic empowerment of Muslims, which included bringing Muslim women into mainstream …. Jinnah was seen by and large by the Mullahs as a baneful modernizing influence who emphasized material progress over spiritual progress. That Jinnah wanted a secular and modern state is an undeniable fact of history. Whether Muslim majority state can achieve that is a question that he might have gotten wrong.

    But Rubina is right in tracing back fundamentalism to Darul-uloom Deoband. Guess who brought Darul-uloom Deoband into politics… you got it … it was Gandhi and he was warned against it by Jinnah. Darul Uloom Deoband by and large remained opposed to Jinnah and the two nation theory. Poor Rubina doesn’t even get the irony in what she says.

    Pakistan movement was led by Ismailis, Bohris Ahmadis, Shias… and the main Sunni block supporting it was Barelvi Islam…. none of these factions can be described as fundamentalist. In order to be general and broad enough to be acceptable to such a diverse bunch, Pakistan Movement could not afford to be fundamentalist…
    this is why it was led by a man who was known openly to be quite irreligious in his lifestyle. Had it been led by someone more religious, it would not have been successful.

    The anecdote I remember most is when some Mullahs went to Jinnah to convince him to institute congregational prayer at Muslim League meetings. He turned around and said “Very good Maulana Sahab, can you tell me who is going to lead this prayer? A shia? A sunni? A barelvi? A deobandi?”

    The Mullahs never dared repeat this demand.

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    To quote the famous Eqbal Ahmed:

    Significantly, by then the modernist view of the causes of Muslim decline and of the remedies it required, especially as articulated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his ideological successors, including Iqbal, had seeped into the consciousness of the Muslim intelligentsia. There was to this phenomenon also a pan-Islamic context: In the 1930s the Muslim world as a whole had entered what Albert Hourani has described as the Liberal Age when Muslim nationalism grew exponentially on the premises of modernism and reform. Mr Jinnah returned from England in 1935 to find himself swept to the crest of this wave.


  52. alok

    YLH i see that you do have a point but i humbly beg to differ with that. Regds.

  53. alok

    this one sent a shiver down my spine:

    Whither Swat’s women?
    By Qurat ul ain Siddiqui

    WHAT happened with Shikarpur’s Maria Shah, a recent victim of an acid attack, may be considered as a random act of violence but the degree of resolve and perfection with which misogyny is being systematized in Swat is simply unprecedented in Pakistan.

    Banning education for females and specifically targeting girls’ schools was, to look at the current situation on the ground, only the prelude to what is turning out to be a conscious establishment of a system of violence and sadism.

    With the destruction of over 180 schools in the valley, thousands of female teachers are without a source of income and some 80,000 female students are no longer getting an education.

    However, it is not ‘only’ women’s education and livelihood that are at stake here. Women can also no longer venture outside their homes without a male relative (definitely a mehram) and it is mandatory for couples to carry their nikah-namaas or they are asking for trouble. The Swat Taliban have also announced that families with unmarried females should come forward in mosques so that the women/girls may be married off – to the Taliban. Or else, they are to be forcibly married (read raped).

    So would any Pakistani woman want to wake up the following morning only to find out she’s in Swat? Hopefully not.

    The government has done little, if not nothing, to address this ‘institutionalisation’ of gender-specific violence in the once idyllic valley. And while a visit to the region by some in the national cabinet was in the offing, the NWFP government’s recent decision to implement ‘sharia’ in the area seems highly unlikely to rescue the population from this despotic setup.

    What was done to Bakht Zeba, a 45-year-old resident of Mingora and a former member of the Swat district council, should have been enough to serve as a wake up call for those entrusted with the security of our lives and properties.

    Zeba’s criticism of the Swat Taliban’s anti-women measures was more than enough to incur the Talibs’ wrath. On Nov 26, Bakht Zeba was dragged out of her Mingora home and was shot in the head after being brutally flogged.

    A mere three hour drive (less than 200 miles) from Islamabad, Swat has transmogrified into a horrific embodiment and just when one dares to think that it can’t get any worse, a whole new horrible bunch of stunts is pulled only to keep one’s optimism in check.

    The rather recent decree regarding bringing unmarried girls/women to give them away in marriage to the Taliban is a truly shocking one. Going a few more steps ahead than the Afghan Taliban, this group has clearly expressed its disregard for anything and everything with a semblance of civilised behaviour. So really, what form of the sharia will satiate their appetite for brutality?

    Despite the ‘military operation’ before the ‘ceasefire,’ the government failed to tackle the militants, nor could it effectively address the problems that these criminal elements, bent upon destroying the region’s social fabric, have been posing.

    What bigger horror is needed to realise that what began in Swat (a firmly settled area, mind you!) might as well penetrate inside the rest of the state?

    The terror that the women in Swat have experienced is appalling enough and if this trend that has captured the valley is not dismantled, it is likely to advance itself, putting at risk a healthy and respectable survival of at least 50 per cent of the country’s population.

    The recent murderous attacks against women in Kohat, an pronouncement ordering Quetta women to cover their faces, and of course how can we forget — right in the middle of Islamabad — the Red Mosque’s self-styled executioners of God’s law, were not actions working themselves about in isolation. Swat, at present, appears to be the culmination of all the madness that has gone on, that is ensuing, and that, if not eliminated, is logically bound to get only worse.

    We, and especially the modern urban women amongst us, painstakingly working it up in our cubicles, can no longer remain in denial of what may very well be in store for us.

    While one expected the government to support and defend women development initiatives in the region (taken up by community workers such as Bakht Zeba), the government has instead made the Swatis even more vulnerable to exploitation. Who knows what version of religious law will Swat be governed under? And while Mr Hoti, the mayor of Peshawar, just barely, has slapped aside suggestions that Swat may end up turning into Taliban’s Afghanistan, his sanguinity is no longer compelling. This ‘sharia’ deal directly involves an organization that the government of Pakistan banned in Jan 2002. And strangely enough, that ban has not been lifted to this day.

    These ‘political’ developments have only strengthened the militants, when simultaneously, a show of the righteous’ strength was also witnessed in Karachi on Feb 14 — resulting in the postponement of a perfectly innocent musical evening. However, it is, as some of us hope, highly unlikely that a system of force and repression, along the lines of the one in Swat, can be made operational in the country’s metropolitan centres and while several women amongst the urban, educated lot have strongly expressed their censure of the military operations in the northwest, they are not going to allow neither criminals nor the holier than thou(s) to dictate their lifestyles.

    Given a closer look, the so-called isolated acid attacks, rapes and other gender-specific acts of violence are not so isolated. The Swat Taliban’s crusade against women is not some alien system that sprang up out of nothing. It exists in relation to a certain worldview at large — a worldview that power must be exercised and sustained as extremely as it can.

    At this point in time, not only has the government of Pakistan almost-officially disowned Swat, it has also isolated its women even further. But what it must not forget is that today when the Taliban are strongly entrenched in the region (more than ever before), Islamabad is not far away.


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  56. Thoughtlines

    I went to Mingora on February 18 to follow the Sufi peace march in the war ravaged district, once known as the ‘Switzerland of the East.’ The whole district is in ruins; not a single building is safe from the fierce fighting between the security forces and militants, which went on for nearly two years.
    I saw most of the locals were chatting happily over the visible end to their miseries brought up by the incessant warfare.
    To me it is astonishing to see the so-called liberals bashing the Adl regulations in Malakand on feeble grounds.
    Whether, arm-chair scholars sitting in their cosy drawing rooms in Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi think the implementation of these regulations as victory of militants or the failure of state, they miss another dimension of the conflict, which is about the Swat’s people.
    The people of Swat have suffered in the hands of both the militants and military during past two years every imaginable access on their rights. Their schools were blown up by the militants across the area, while the remaining were turned into military barracks by the forces. They were slaughtered at the main streets and they were kidnapped and had to go through all the atrocities.
    Where, all those bashing Swat deal were sitting at that moment, why the people of Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi did not hold a single protest against the killing of innocent people in Swat or Frontier on a single occasion; for they had got other important matters like Women Marathon, Basant or some other issue on their mind. Now as the peace has returned to the valley, they are up in arms against the fragile peace.
    They do not know the region, people, their culture and history and showing unnecessary pessimism over the deal.
    The Malakand people led by Sufi Mohammad rebelled in 1994 for the Sharia in the agency and the then PPP government went ahead but cheated the people on the name of Sharia and it again happened in 1999.
    The question arise, that why the people of Malakad or Swat or so eager about Sharia while the people in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and even in Peshawar do not share that enthusiasm.
    The answer lies in the history of areas now constituting Malakand Division and as the district of Chitral, Swat and Dir were among the 540 Indian Princely States, which were mandated to join either India or Pakistan at the time of partition. So they joined Pakistan, but there amalgamation into the legal and administrative system of the country could not be accomplished till 1969, when these states were finally merged into Pakistan.
    These princely states had their own administrative and judicial setup catering to their small populations and that was not disturbed till 1969, when the British courts were introduced in these areas after the formal merger.
    In Chitral, which I am resident “Mizan-e- Sharia” courts used to settle the legal issues and what I have learned from my elders that these courts effectively dispensed justice to the people and same institutions were also providing justice in Swat or Dir.
    There are Islamis, who are around 30 percent of Chitral population, also approached these courts to settle their disputes. After the introduction of British law, Ismailis established their own reconciliation and arbitration boards to settle their disputes out of court and the system is still in place. This also shows the lack of confidence on the British courts among the population, which now we are witnessing in Swat and elsewhere.
    If Israelis and Palestinians, India and Pakistan and other arch enemies have ultimately resort to dialogues to settle their issues, then why Swat deal is being mocked by the so-called liberal elements.
    Secondly, what the secularists think that should be done in place of dialogue, they should come out with a clear cut solution otherwise the opposition is simply meant that they want physical elimination of Swat people, as the military failed to bring peace back to the area.
    At the end I would like to share this anecdote of one Kalasha community leader and this aptly describes the perception of British legal system among the locals.
    When General Fazl-e-Haq, governor NWFP visited Chitral in 1981 one of the Kalash community leaders Bachara Khan requested him to appoint him as a judge.
    Upon the General question that how he could become a judge, Bachara khan said, that he would decide the cases like other judges and defer every case till next hearing and it will go on.
    He is still alive and does not have any qualms about Sharia and also not shares the “Shria crmaps” of the so-called liberals.