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» 03/24/2009 16:38
PAKISTAN
In Taliban-controlled Swat Valley no more NGOs or polio vaccination for children
by Qaiser Felix
The enforcement of Sharia has led to the closing down of NGO offices, the end of polio vaccination for children and left hundreds of lawyers out of a job. Extremist groups plan to demand the implementation of Islamic in every district of the province. Civil society groups and human rights activists are sounding the alarm.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Since Sharia came into effect on 16 February lawyers have lost their job, NGOs have not been allowed to operate, polio vaccination has been banned, Taliban in custody have been released, and demands that Islamic law be implemented in the other districts of the province have made. The agreement signed by the government of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Tahrik-e-Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) movement in a bid to end years of war and violence is bearing fruit. Under Sharia civil liberties and personal freedoms are being curtailed and what was once a famous destination for national and international tourism is being progressively “talibanised”.

On Sunday 14 more Taliban terrorists were released from jail, taking the total number freed so far to 48. At the same time TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad’s ban on district courts and lawyers’ presence in Qazi courts (Islamic courts) in Swat has left around 500 lawyers unemployed since Sharia only allows people filing cases and the accused to appear before the new “Islamic courts”.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Sunday also ordered all non-governmental organisations to immediately leave Swat. For the Islamist organisation “NGO is another name for ‘vulgarity and obscenity’,” because they hire women who work with men, in the field and in offices. “That is totally unislamic and unacceptable,” TTP spokesman Muslim Khan said.

The Taliban have decreed that there shall be no polio vaccination because “it causes infertility” and because the vaccine was imported, Khan said.

In Lower Dir, one of the NWFP’s 24 districts, Islamic fundamentalists have shut down a family planning centre, warning that it would be blown up if it was reopened it.

In the province religious parties and extremist movements are now demanding the application of Sharia in the other districts as well as the tribal areas along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Civil society groups and human rights activists have condemned the Swat Valley’s talibanisation, pointing out that some areas have become no-go areas where militants are enforcing the most rigid and fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Punjab Vice-Chairman Dr Mehdi Hasan warned that the militants will stop at nothing to achieve their purpose, that they will eliminate anything and anyone trying to stop them. He urged the government to look into the matter and take control of the situation.

Women’s Action Forum (WAF) Convener Nighat Saeed Khan said that militants in the Malakand Division have used Western technical equipment—cellular phones, rockets and vehicles—even though they termed each one of them as “unislamic.”

She noted that the Taliban are creating their “own areas”, where they are likely to train terrorists, and will move to other districts if not stopped immediately. 


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See also
05/22/2008 PAKISTAN
Government strikes a deal with Taliban, Sharia to be enforced in the northern part of the country
01/25/2008 PAKISTAN
Islamic courts to replace Supreme Court in Pakistan’s tribal areas
by Qaiser Felix
03/17/2009 PAKISTAN
Sharia courts begin work in Swat Valley with restrictions on women
by Qaiser Felix
05/15/2009 PAKISTAN
Swat Valley: Catholics pray for peace as the country faces an exodus of Biblical proportions
by Qaiser Felix
04/06/2009 PAKISTAN
Whipping 17-yr girl a “barbaric act”, anger against Taliban mounts
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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