Swat violence reveals fallacy of peace deal

24 02 2009

23 Feb 2009,
Source: ET
NEW DELHI: External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that Pakistan’s ceasefire deal with the Taliban was a matter of concern for India.
“No compromise should be made with terrorist organisations such as the Taliban,” Mr Mukherjee said.

The dangers of accepting the spurious “good Taliban and bad Taliban” was evident on Sunday when militants kidnapped the top government administrator and six of his guards in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley.

The development is worrying for India as security establishment maintains that Islamabad’s decision to cede geographical and ideological space to extremists could have dangerous consequences to the neigbourhood.

Reports from Mingora said the abduction was a major blow to efforts to restore peace. Pakistani authorities had on last Monday struck a deal with Islamists to restore Sharia law in an effort to pacify Swat, a valley where the Pakistan military has failed to put down a Taliban uprising.

Last Sunday, Islamist militants had announced a 10-day ceasefire in the valley as a “goodwill gesture” towards the peace talks. Those who view Pakistan’s decision with concern are of the view that the agreement will only strengthen the militants and could result in another sanctuary for al Qaida and the Taliban.

The development could force the US to rethink its line on the “peace deal”. Although secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the “activities of extremists poses a threat”, the US administration sought more time to study the “agreed upon language” of the deal.

Acting state department spokesman Gordon Duguid had said that Washington was in touch with the government in Pakistan and discussing the issue. “We’ll wait and see what their fuller explanation is for us,” he had said.

On its part, Pakistan has been claiming that a section of the Taliban can be won over by this decision. But if the abduction and the lawlessness in Swat is anything to go by, the Taliban is determined to take control of the Valley and extend its reach to other regions.