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Implementing Shariaa Law in Pakistan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Pakistan seceded from India and gained independence from Britain in 1947 on the grounds that the populations of the Sind region and neighboring provinces were Muslims. Now more than 60 yeas later, the Taliban movement has emerged in the Pakistani Swat Valley to take control of the province under the slogan of implementation of the Islamic Shariaa. The real objective is political, because Taliban is seeking to make up for its losses in neighboring Afghanistan. Islamic Shariaa was no goal for the population of the Swat Valley because they conservative and religious and the entire country generally adopts Islamic rules and systems.

While Taliban has succeeded in overrunning the Swat Valley, claiming that the Pakistani state is infidel, the latter has succeeded in mobilizing the Pakistani public opinion against Taliban. The Pakistani regime has spread the news of Taliban’s extremist acts, such as execution of women and flogging of girls as well as its ideology of banning music, television, and so on and so forth, so much so that a number of Pakistani Islamic leaders have disavowed Taliban’s acts, describing it as a takfiri movement [holding others as infidel] and that it poses danger to society.

Raja Zufarulhaq, a Pakistani specialist in Islamic Shariaa and political activist, expressed his opposition to Taliban. He said: “When some people talk of the Islamic Shariaa and punishments, such as cutting off the hand of a thief, they do not know that the Shariaa imposes 13 conditions that must be met before such a punishment is meted out. This is why absolutely no Pakistani citizen has ever had his hand cut off.”

Talk of the Islamic Shariaa is like the slogan of the banner of Islam, which ambitious political forces raise as a mean to an end, namely power. In Somalia, a civilian government was in place, and when it stepped down, power was handed over to the opposition leader, Sheikh Sharif Ahmad Sharif, a leader of the Islamic Courts organization, the archenemy of the regime in Mogadishu. Even though Sharif declared that he will implement the Islamic Shariaa, he became a target for politicized Islamic groups, such as the Mujahidin Youths, which declared jihad against him. The capital Mogadishu is currently the scene of clashes between the two Islamic organizations.

With his Islamic background, a Pakistani citizen would support an Islamic government and implementation of the Shariaa. A mastermind like Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Al-Qaeda organization, is aware of this. He has made good on his threat to turn Pakistan into a new battlefield. The activities of Taliban as an Islamic project against an unbeliever regime bear all the hallmarks of Al-Zawahiri. He aspires to make Pakistan like the old Kabul late in the 1990s, when he helped bring Taliban to power, rendering it a pliant tool for Al-Qaeda to rule Afghanistan.

Taliban is the political project of Al-Qaeda, which seeks to bring down the Pakistani regime. This project serves some regional countries which seek to weaken Pakistan. The regime in Islamabad is struggling for survival when it chases Taliban in Swat Valley, where Taliban has succeeded in using tribes and recruiting tribesmen to spread violence to the capital and to other key cities to bring down the Pakistani regime. While we believe that this is a battle for life for the Pakistani regime, it must not be content itself with fighting in the Swat Valley. It has to introduce domestic reforms. The rivalry among the Pakistani political parties for power will only end up with their collective withdrawal from the political scene, leaving Pakistan in perilous chaos, similar to that prevailing in Somalia and Afghanistan.