Taliban dispute Govt's claim of permanent truce in Swat
The Pakistani Taliban in the restive Swat valley have contested the government's claim that they had agreed to "a permanent ceasefire" in the region, saying a decision in this regard would be taken by the 'shura' or council of militants.
"We have heard that the government has announced a permanent ceasefire but we have already announced a 10-day ceasefire and we will consider an extension when it ends," Maulana Fazlullah, the commander of the Taliban in Swat, said in a broadcast on his illegal FM station.
Syed Mohammad Javed, the commissioner for Malakand division which includes Swat, had said yesterday that the Taliban had agreed to a ceasefire. He also said both the security forces and Taliban would observe the truce.
The Taliban had unilaterally announced a 10-day ceasefire on February 15 to facilitate peace talks which began after the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi, a banned group of religious hardliners, reached an agreement with Pakistani authorities to enforce Islamic laws in Swat and Malakand.
Fazlullah said in his broadcast last night that the future of the truce would depend on the government's sincerity in implementing the "Nizam-e-Adl" regulations or Islamic laws.
"This is our constitutional right. We struggled and made sacrifices to achieve our constitutional right," he said.
Javed had also announced that boys' schools would reopen on Monday though there was no word on whether girls' schools would resume classes.