Concessions to jihadists only result in demands for more concessions. Obama will probably be learning this lesson, or be given an opportunity to learn this lesson, soon enough. “Pakistan’s religious parties demand extension of Islamic law,” by Raza Khan for The Washington Times, April 9 (thanks to James):
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan | Pakistan’s decision to turn the Swat Valley’s courts over to Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban insurgency has emboldened mainstream religious parties to push for Islamic law throughout the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and eventually the entire country.
Mehsud also has launched terrorist attacks beyond the tribal areas, including an assault on a police academy in Lahore last week that killed 18 people, and threatened to strike the United States. The United States then reportedly targeted Mehsud in a remote region of Pakistan’s tribal areas with missiles fired from a drone.
The push for Shariah illustrates a dilemma for the Obama administration, which is seeking to shore up U.S. relations with Pakistan and bolster Pakistan’s fragile secular government: Militant fighters and mainstream Islamist political leaders share not only personal ties but a common goal of imposing Islamic law throughout the country.
So far, Shariah has been extended to the Malakand region, which includes the Swat Valley and comprises eight of the 24 districts of the NWFP. The imposition of Islamic courts there was one of the foremost demands of Mehsud and his outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which openly battled and badly defeated Pakistani forces in Swat in the year before the truce.
A video shown on Pakistani television of a Taliban fighter flogging a 17-year-old woman in Swat has inflamed the issue. The woman was said to have rebuffed a Taliban commander’s proposal of marriage and was punished for leaving her house with an unrelated male, an electrician.
Pakistan’s chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, on Monday rebuked the government of President Asif Ali Zardari for failing to investigate the incident and demanded that the woman be brought before his court to recount her ordeal.
Still, Hamid-ul-Haq Haqqani, the leader of a faction of a leading religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, known as JUI-S, told The Washington Times that Shariah has had a beneficial effect on security in the region.
“Therefore, we would like it to be implemented in the entire country to stem the rot. It should be done whether Americans like it or not, and in this regard, [the] federal government should show some courage. It is one of the ways that Pakistan could be salvaged. Otherwise, everyone knows about the U.S. designs to vivisect Pakistan,” Mr. Haqqani said….