Pakistan signs pact with Islamic militants to implement Sharia law in province Andrew Gilmore at 4:04 PM ET
[JURIST] The government of Pakistan [JURIST news archive] reached an agreement with Taliban-linked Islamic militants in the Pakistani North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) area of Swat to implement Islamic Sharia law [CFR backgrounder; JURIST archive] in the area, according to statements attributed to the militants. Under the agreement, the Pakistani army will withdraw troops from the Swat region and will not oppose the local enforcement of Sharia in the region, while Islamic militants have agreed to halt suicide attacks and hand over foreign fighters under local protection. An Islamic justice system will be created to operate in parallel with the secular system, and established Pakistani courts will be advised by Islamic scholars. Construction is also expected to begin on an Islamic university. The Guardian has more. Reuters has additional coverage.
Violence by Islamic militants has long been a problem in Pakistan's outlying provinces. Earlier this year, Pakistan's top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud [BBC profile] and four others were charged [JURIST report] in the assassination of former prime minister Benzhair Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Meshud is the commander of Tehrik-e-Taliban, a group of Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda. He has denied involvement in the attack.
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