03/11/2009, 00.00
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Swat Valley: Sharia implemented on 16 March

by Qaiser Felix
Only President Zardari’s signature is needed to implement the law. Two Shariatic courts will administer justice in Malakand district and Taliban militias will run the region. Women will be the first to suffer and some 400 girls’ schools could be closed.
Peshawar (AsiaNews) – The government of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) announced that Sharia will come into effect next Monday in Malakand district after President Zardari signs into law the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009. Henceforth two appellate Shariatic courts, the Darul Qaza and Darul-Darul Qaza, will administer justice in the area. Judges will be appointed to these Qazi courts by the High Court, and it will be possible to challenge verdicts delivered by the Darul Qaza court in the Darul-Darul Qaza court.

The agreement that opened the door to the introduction of Qur‘anic law in the area also requires that local Taliban militias, the Tehreek-i-Nafaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, rein in violence in the Swat Valley.

Religious minorities, including Christians, and human rights groups are very concerned about the government’s decision which effectively places the whole region in the hands of militias.

Women, who are already victims of discrimination and exclusion in society, will be the first to suffer from the application of Sharia.

Girls and young women are likely to lose the right to go to schools. Since the start of the year many have been targeted by armed groups.

Since the start of the Taliban military campaign in 2007 168 schools have been attacked, including 104 girls’ schools. An additional 400 private schools could also be shut down.

Altogether some 80,000 female students could have their education put at risk whilst about  8,000 female teachers could lose their job.

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See also
Only Sharia in Swat Valley, then all of Pakistan, says Taliban leader
Despite threats from the Taliban, we are working for the good of the country, Pakistani Catholic say
In Taliban-controlled Swat Valley no more NGOs or polio vaccination for children
Swat Valley: two million refugees on the run, as Caritas Pakistan provides assistance
Sharia courts begin work in Swat Valley with restrictions on women


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