The national spokesman for the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) publicly welcomed the agreement between the NWFP provincial government and the local TTP branch of the Swat Valley regarding the enforcement of Islamic law in Malakand. Maulvi Omar added that the TTP would accept the decision and hoped that the government would implement the agreement in both letter and spirit.
The announcement came as something of a surprise, as the Pakistani military had been fiercely shelling the Swat Valley in an attempt to restore government control, which had increasingly been lost to the TTP’s rival court system. Still, the decision was welcomed by local officials, who saw no military solution forthcoming, and by many of the local residents, who hope that the move will signal an end to a corrupt judiciary and multi-year waits for legal proceedings.
Still a concern given the tradition of independence the military has enjoyed in Pakistan, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas says that the military will abide by the agreement made by the civilian government, and will only respond if attacked. He did however express concerns that the present situation in Swat was “not satisfactory.”
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