President Asif Ali Zardari approved a controversial Shariâ€™ah regulation for the Malakand division of the North West Frontier Province on Monday after the National Assembly asked to implement a peace deal between them and the provincial government.
â€˜Sharia Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009â€™ was signed by the President on Monday April 14, 2009. The parliament did not need to be on board or approve of it for it to become the law. The President has the right to sign such bills into law with the Federal assemblyâ€™s approval so he did.
This bill states that all courts in the province will abide by the Shariâ€™ah law and the hearings and judgments will be given according to the Islamic Law of Shariâ€™ah. The Presidentâ€™s representative says he did so in order to get some stability in the area and strike some peace with the Taliban.
â€œYes, the president signed the regulation after the National Assembly adopted the resolution,â€ presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters. Later the president left for Dubai on a short visit.
ANP feared that PPP and its other allies might not be comfortable with this regulation and make some problems in the implementation of this law. However, PM Gillani said, â€œI am with them, I am not against them,â€ about ANPâ€™s need to get the regulation signed and the President actually following through and signing the regulation.
MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar was the only one to oppose the deal with arguments that largely remained unanswered from the supporters of the move before he led his group silently march out of the house after the prime minister and some of his ministers failed to persuade them from reversing what he said would only be abstention from voting on a move that he said would amount to allowing a Kalashinkov-bearing ultra-radical group to enforce its school of thought by force, endorsing the establishment of a parallel judicial system in the country, and encouraging those who would flog women and might not allow a women like Fehmida Mirza to be the National Assembly speaker.
PML-Nâ€™s Ayaz Amir called the regulation as the product of a â€˜doctrine of necessityâ€™ that Pakistani superior courts in the past used to uphold military coups, but added it should be given the benefit of doubt as it could be a â€˜harbinger of better thingsâ€™ despite â€˜many doubtsâ€™.
The reaction from our neighbors has been pretty outstanding as well. Afghanistan is directly affected by whatever takes place in the northern areas. Afghan Presidential Spokesperson, Humayun Hamidzada, told a news briefing, â€œSince any deal with terrorist groups can have effects on the security of our own country and people, we ask the country of Pakistan to take into consideration the issue of security and its side-effects on relations between the two countries.â€
Afghanistan has in the past accused Pakistani security forces of tacitly supporting militants who infiltrate across the border into Afghanistan, an accusation that has soured ties between the two key allies of Washington.
However, the world needs to realize the kind of situation Pakistan and the Pakistani government is in as far as the northern areas and Taliban are concerned. The Taliban have an undeniable hold on that area. They are getting stronger in spite of all the tries to weaken them over the years. The country is running out of options. We could continue to fight them and let them destroy one big part of the country while they get stronger. The other option is to make some kind of peace with the Taliban and see how we can come up with a better relationship and understanding with them.
Option one has been tried tested and has failed to bring about any peace. There is no harm in giving the other option a chance if it will stop the killing of innocent people. This agreement has already been put into effect and is being enforced in Malakand District, the area that it was meant for.
According to the Provincial Government in the Northern Areas the law and order situation has already started to improve since the law has been put in motion. The Militant Taliban are now making their way into the province of Punjab, this means that the governmentsâ€™ concern could not have been only the NWFP area but also the rest of the country which had started to feel the burden of the war waging between the government and the Taliban.
There is no way of knowing how this will end or if this is the end of all the trouble however, something should be said about different things and thinking out of the box to solve and avoid problems.