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Sharia laws formally imposed in Swat

world Updated: Apr 15, 2009 21:11 IST

IANS
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Sharia laws have been formally imposed in Swat and six other districts of Pakistan's restive northwest but a question mark hangs over whether the Taliban would live up to their promise of laying down their arms in return for the measure.

North West Frontier Province Governor Awais Ahmad Ghani and Chief Minister Haider Hoti on Wednesday signed Nizam-e-Adl Regulation that the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's parliament had approved on Monday and which President Asif Ali Zardari had ratified the same night.

Sharia laws may have been imposed but the Taliban have already served notice that they would not play ball.

"My brother, we have only conventional weapons - and Islamic sharia gives people the right to keep them. Islamic jihad will continue until Judgement Day," Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan Tuesday told Geo TV's Capital Talk show.

Curiously enough, the APP report on the signing ceremony said the Sharia laws would be enforced in the Malakand division, which includes Swat, and the Kohistan district.

Hitherto, it had been thought that the Sharia laws were only being imposed in the Malakand division. That they will also be enforced in the Kohistan district, which is not part of Malakand, has led to speculation that there could be more to the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation than meets the eye.

The full details of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation have not been made public.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, the chief minister said the government had fulfilled what the people of the area wanted and it is now up to them to take their cases to Qazi courts.

At the same time, he admitted it would take time to establish Qazi courts across the division.

He also clarified that the Sharia laws were not meant to serve as a parallel judicial system but were aimed at providing quick justice within the parameters of Islamic laws.

"Our priority is ensuring peace in our area and security of the people," the chief minister maintained.