International criticism mounts over Taliban deal in Pakistan
Even though Pakistani leaders review the Swat peace deal and hoping that it would pave the way for permanent peace in the whole country, the Pakistani establishment's peace buying efforts, by acceding to the implementation of Shariah law in the Malakand division of country's North western front that includes the restive Swat valley, has raised serious concerns at international levels.
International pressure against the pact signed with Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi for introduction of Shariah in parts of NWFP mounted on Tuesday with Britain leading the chorus as it warned Pakistan's government 'against creating further space for violence'.
When approached, spokesperson Jennifer Wilkes said her official expression of caution could be spelled out as follows: “We have concerns. Previous peace deals have not provided a comprehensive and long-term solution to Swat’s problems. We need to be confident that they will end violence and not create space for further violence. They need to be clearly stipulated, robust and monitored long-term, and include enforceable measures on cross-border movement to tackle cross-border militancy.”
The UK is on the record for defining the cross-border movement of terrorists originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan and affecting the situation in all the regional countries, including India, China, the Central Asian states and even farther.
Nato, which is leading an international force fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in neighbouring Afghanistan, expressed concern on Tuesday after Pakistan signed a pact with TNSM to introduce Islamic law in the Swat valley.
“We would all be concerned by a situation in which extremists would have safe haven,” Nato spokesman James Appathurai told a news briefing. Nato heads an international force battling Taliban militants in Pakistan’s neighbour Afghanistan and Appathurai said he did not know if the pact would make its task more difficult. However, he added: “It is certainly reason for concern.”
Appathurai said Nato did not doubt the commitment of the Pakistani government and its President Asif Ali Zardari to fighting extremism. He said the Nato and Pakistan wanted to deepen their cooperation in the fight against militants. “But it remains the case, without doubting the good faith of the Pakistani government, that this region is suffering very badly from extremism and we would not want to see that get worse.”
Kabul frowns upon ‘unauthorised’ negotiations with Taliban
Presidential spokesman Homayun Hamidzada told reporters he was unaware of a report in the Jyllands-Posten daily, which cited a Danish officer as saying that Taliban were represented at soldiers’ talks with local chiefs.
“We must intensify the dialogue and the negotiations with the Taliban if we want to have peace in Afghanistan, because we cannot eliminate the enemy,” the lieutenant colonel was quoted as saying on Monday after a six-month mission.