February 25, 2009 | 1731 GMT
Pakistan’s federal government imposed governor’s rule in Punjab, the country’s largest province, Feb. 25 after the Supreme Court ruled Punjab’s chief minister as ineligible for office. This is a preemptive move by the central government to try and contain large-scale protests by the country’s legal community, which is demanding the restoration of the judiciary. The tussle comes at a time when the country is already politically and economically weak and the military is likely far too distracted with the jihadist insurgency to step in and quell such political brawls, boding ill for the security of the country and the wider region.
Pakistan’s federal government, led by the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP), on Feb. 25 suspended the provincial legislature and government and imposed governor’s rule for two months in Punjab, the country’s largest and most powerful province. Punjab is controlled by the country’s other major political force, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by two-term former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Earlier, Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared Sharif and his younger brother, Punjab’s chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, as ineligible for public office. The elder Sharif had previously been barred from holding public office; his younger brother’s disqualification represents the central government’s intention to go for the PML-N’s jugular, thereby destabilizing Punjab’s provincial government. Supporters of the PML-N are protesting the central government’s decision, holding demonstrations across the country. Protesters reportedly burned tires and damaged public property.
Bowing Down to the Taliban
Pakistan is capitulating to the Taliban in the picturesque Swat Valley, where the Islamists have introduced Sharia law. Now the militants’ triumph threatens to encourage radicals throughout the region.
The defeat was celebrated as if it had been a victory. The chief minister of the North-West Frontier Province greeted a delegation from the local Taliban. The Taliban officials, with their long beards and turbans, had come to the chief minister’s house to sign a treaty. After arriving in pickups and large limousines, the men were seated on velvet armchairs and served food on silver trays.
Then the pious foes of the government in Islamabad were given a coveted piece of Pakistan as a gift.
Under the agreement, which the men and the governor signed with much ceremony, the Taliban will be permitted to implement their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, in the Swat Valley and other adjacent districts at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountain range. “Today is a historic day,” said Amir Haider Khan Hoti, the chief minister of the provincial government, clearly straining to put a positive spin on the Taliban’s assumption of power. “An old demand of the people has been met. The new regulation will provide a more efficient legal system.”
It was a blatant lie. Most Pakistanis are shocked by the prospect that, in the Swat Valley, thieves could have their hands cut off and adulterers could face stoning in the future. Such punishments were in fact already possible under Pakistani law, but have never been carried out in the past.
Visit the link above to read the rest of the article and view the photo gallery. But the best thing is the film from Australia’s Four Corners a few posts down from here. This situation must not be under estimated for its severity and implications to the rest of the world.