Taliban defy Pak curfew to patrol town in Swat
Armed Taliban defied a government curfew and patrolled the main town in Pakistan's Swat district after rejecting an Islamic appeals court set up under a peace deal, witnesses said on Monday.
The government of North West Frontier Province said Saturday that an Islamic appellate court had been created to serve the three million people who live in Malakand, which includes Swat, under a deal to end a Taliban-led insurgency.
But a Taliban spokesman rejected the new court, charging it had been created without adequate consultation, and condemned an ongoing military assault against Taliban fighters holed up in other districts of Malakand.
Authorities imposed a curfew from 6:00 pm to 9:00 am in Mingora, the main town in Swat, on Sunday for the first time since signing the February deal with pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Mohammad to try to end nearly two years of violence.
"We had concerns about the law and order situation, that is why the curfew was imposed," the head of the local administration, Khushhal Khan, said.
Residents said they saw armed Taliban patrolling the main roads in Mingora late Sunday despite the curfew.
"It is the first time that Taliban have again started armed patrolling in Mingora," one resident said, requesting anonymity.
"Do not give my name because the Taliban will find me and kill me," the frightened resident said.
"Once again fear is gripping the entire town."
Another resident said Taliban militants were "again taking up positions on top of buildings" in Mingora.
Security officials and police declined to comment when asked whether armed Taliban were patrolling in Mingora.
Pakistan in February agreed to let religious hardliners enforce Islamic law in Swat, once a popular ski resort, and the rest of Malakand in a bid to end the bloody Taliban uprising.
But instead of disarming as required under the deal, armed Taliban pushed further towards the capital Islamabad, taking over large swathes of other Malakand districts Lower Dir and Buner -- and prompting the latest offensive.
Pakistan's army announced Sunday that 80 militants have been killed so far in its offensive against the Taliban in Buner.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Vaccinations must be administered within three months of the travel period and travellers will be required to show negative Covid-19 test results.
- Spain’s Constitutional Court on Monday rejected last-minute appeals by unions and women’s rights groups to hold any kind of street protest in the Spanish capital, following similar recent rulings by lower-level courts.
- Chandra Moore, 55, died Friday, Detroit police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said.
- The country’s collective investment scheme industry saw net annual inflows of 213 billion rand ($13.8 billion) in 2020, according to statistics released by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa on Monday. That was the highest figure since 1965.
- The decision had been taken as a precaution, the National Office for Health System Safety (BASG) said late on Sunday, adding that there was "no evidence of a causal link" between the jab and the woman's death.