Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani dismissed yesterday’s comments by US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke expressing concerns about the Swat Valley peace deal, saying “This is our country. We know the ground realities better than him. We know much better what kind of strategy should be evolved.”
Holbrooke criticized the deal to end the fighting in the restive Swat Valley, saying “you can’t deal with these people.” State Department spokesman Robert Wood condemned the groups involved in the deal as “violent extremists” and said “they’re a threat to democracy.”
Prime Minister Gilani says that “this is our internal matter. Pakistan is a sovereign country, a responsible country.” He also insisted that “there was no alternative under the circumstances.”
At the crux of the deal was the promise to implement Islamic law across the entire Malakand region, which includes the Swat Valley. Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad has since said that the country’s superior courts are “un-Islamic” and should not be allowed to appeals of the Islamic law courts’ decisions. He has also vowed to see the Sharia courts implemented across Pakistan, though Gilani said he was “not at all concerned” by the statements.