By Elizabeth Kendal, World Evangelical
Heavy troop losses and plummeting troop morale has led President Musharraf to strike “peace deals” with Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates in several regions of NWFP.
This year the government signed similar “peace deals” (surrenders) in the NWFP tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mahmoud, as well as Swat district. As would be expected, in all areas under Taliban and al-Qaeda control a policy of zero tolerance towards everything “non-Islamic” is being violently imposed.
The “peace deals” have provided peace for the government, liberty for the Taliban and al-Qaeda and unprecedented persecution for Christians and all other non-Islamists.
(A detailed examination and assessment of the political and security situation in
On 10 July government troops stormed the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in
The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir, told DAWN (7 Oct 2007): “The NWFP presents a disturbing picture of religious militancy that is increasingly manifesting itself in vigilante actions against the population and creating widespread fear. The government has chosen to look the other way when the militants have blown up girls’ schools and video shops, threatened teachers, students, doctors, nurses, NGO workers and barbers.” (Link 1)
Swat district fell under Taliban control when the government struck a “peace deal” with the militants in May 2007. As noted by Hameedullah Khan in DAWN (
Basically, the “peace deal” enabled the terror to be re-directed. Militants who had been consumed with battling the Pakistan Army were freed-up to wage a violent campaign of forced Islamisation across the district: destroying evidence of
Asma Jahangir (HRCP) told DAWN that in
A Compass Direct (CD) news release entitled “PAKISTAN: Taliban militants force burqa on Christian women’s school”, details the persecution on the above mentioned Catholic-run Public High School and exposes the shocking intensity of the persecution being directed at the Christian community as the Taliban works to subjugate or even eradicate Christianity from their turf. (Link 2)
The “peace deal” signed in Swat in May was scrapped on Friday 21 September when the “caliph” of the parallel religious government in NWFP, Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked cleric Maulana Fazlullah, announced he was terminating his agreement with the government. Fazlullah’s army of some 4,500 militants immediately resumed violence and terrorism (including suicide bombings) against the Pakistan Army.
On Wednesday 24 October, the interim caretaker government of the NWFP deployed more than 2,000 paramilitary troops, police and helicopter gunships into Swat Valley “to provide security to the people” and “negotiate” with the militants. (Link 3)
On 25 October a powerful bomb blast destroyed an army vehicle travelling through Mingora, Swat’s main town, killing around 30 people including 17 soldiers. The militants are not negotiating.
Fazlullah’s madrassa-stronghold came under heavy attack on Friday 26 October. Fazlullah retaliated by kidnapping six security personnel (3 soldiers and 3 police) and seven civilians whom he accused of being government spies. While some remain missing, others were publicly executed and their decapitated heads were reportedly put on display in a local bazaar. (Link 4)
According to government-issued Pashtu-language leaflets reportedly dropped from a government helicopter on Saturday 27 October, the government intends to “eliminate extremism and terrorism from the Swat valley”. However, in a shameful betrayal of the people, the government attempted to appease the militants with the words: “You must remember that establishing Islamic courts, implementation of Shariah (Islamic law) and bringing peace is the first priority of the government.” (Links 4&5)
ISLAMISATION, TERROR AND WAR MAKE FOR A TENUOUS FUTURE
In those areas of NWFP where the government has ceded control to the Taliban (South and North Waziristan, as well as Bajaur and Mahmoud agencies and Swat district) Christians are not only facing unprecedented persecution and forced Islamisation, they are now on the frontline of a battle for Pakistan — a life and death battle with high-stakes, being waged between the government and the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. This will push persecution amidst insecurity to unprecedented levels. Thousands are reportedly fleeing the area.
The battle for
1) Militants targeting civilians
2) Compass Direct News,
– Extremists violently enforce Islamization in unruly northern district.
3) Swat cleric ‘ends’ peace deal
By Hameedullah Khan,
Editorial: Recapturing Swat from Fazlullah
4) 11 men kidnapped were executed in Pak, militants claim
5) Leaflets urge Malakand people to help govt