Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pakistan : Hey're still on your own!

Why has Pakistan abandoned Swat? Over the last two years Pakistan made it clear that its policy concerning the goings on in the Swat province was a strategy known as “head in the sand”. Yesterday the people of Swat finally had something to cheer about: The Pakistani government and the radical groups that control swat struck a deal that would make Sharia the official rule of law in Swat.

Apparently all rejoiced at this news in Swat, the Globe and Mail reports people dancing in the streets, markets and schools reopening. Good news for all right? Especially given that the bargaining position of the residents of swat started from the very weak : “Ordinary people want peace at any cost.”

Maybe... but maybe not... What about the schools that have already burned down, what about the market where women get executed for shopping, what about the countless other atrocities? Will the Sharia help the people or help the radicals? Because as we all know the law can always be bent to serve those in power.

NATO experts now fear that Swat will become a hotbed for extremists and Taliban who want to slip in and out of Afghanistan. That means bad news for our Canadian troops. “We should all be concerned by a situation in which extremists would have a safe haven,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

The people of Pakistan are worried that a deal like this will set precedence that extremists might seek to repeat in other provinces and regions of the country. The director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said “It will spread to the rest of the Frontier province (...) once it spreads to Frontier, then why not Punjab ”.

I’m no expert on the matter, far from it, but when I hear the words: deal, government, Taliban and peace in the same sentence, something just strikes me as not right.

So just to recap:
-Pakistan has made a deal with the same extremists that wanted to close girl schools and execute women for shopping. Pakistan basically struck a deal with the devil.
-NATO experts are worried
-Pakistanis are afraid that this will set precedence and force Islamabad to strike similar deals in other regions.
-And people are dancing in the street?

What it boils down to folks is this: the only ones who aren’t worried are the ones in power because Swat still belongs to them.

(I’m going to read more on this subject today and hopefully someone will post here and correct me if I’m wrong.)

Muchacho Enfermo

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