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Taliban rule? No problem, say many in Pakistan

While the Taliban’s growing influence is worrying the West, and liberal Pakistanis, there are many here who don’t view it as a problem, reports Kamal Siddiqi.

world Updated: Apr 05, 2009 00:40 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

While the Taliban’s growing influence is worrying the West, and liberal Pakistanis, there are many here who don’t view it as a problem.

Muhammad Ilyas owns a poultry store and is a supporter of the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami party. He says what is happening in Swat “should happen in all of Pakistan tomorrow.” Akram Khan, a Pakhtun, agrees. He says that the Taliban are imposing the will of Allah. “How can we oppose what Allah wants?" he says.

Pro-Taliban sentiments seem to be growing amongst middle-class Pakistanis too. And there are many who argue that Pakistan should not "toe America's line.” Shamim Akhtar, a lecturer, says that the war with the Taliban "has been forced on us. This is not our war, it is America's war.”

Imtiaz Ahmad, a banker, comments that Pakistan should “steer away from American policy.” He adds, “We are not America's tool. We should stand up to them.” Others, like journalist Ansar Abbasi, contend that the deal with the Taliban in Swat was a good option “as it stopped the valley from bleeding further.’