A local resident distributes sweets among people after the government's decision to implement Islamic Law in Mingora, the main town of Pakistani Swat Valley.
Pakistan has said that its decision
to enforce Shariah
in parts of NWFP, including the troubled Swat valley, should not be seen as a "concession" to Taliban militants who have long been demanding imposition of the tough Islamic law.
President Asif Ali Zardari will approve the implementation of Islamic laws in Swat and Malakand only after the peace is restored in the region, Information Minister Sherry Rehman said.
The deal should not be seen as a "concession" to the militants, she said last night, hours after the government of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) entered an agreement with the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi (TNSM), abolishing the legislation that goes against Shariah or Islamic law.
"It is in no way a sign of the state's weakness. The public will of the population of the Swat region is at the centre of all efforts and it should be taken into account while debating the merits of this agreement," Rehman said.
The federal government will monitor the situation in Swat and the security and well-being of the people of the region will be the top priority, she said.
"The proposed Nizam-e-Adal Regulation (Islamic law) will bring speedy justice at the doorstep of the common man. This regulation will also meet the demand of the people for the establishment of an appellate forum in their own area," Rehman said.
The Pakistani Taliban also welcomed the agreement between religious hardliners and authorities to enforce Islamic law in the restive Swat and nearby areas.
Endorsing the pact signed by the North West Frontier Province government and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Mohammad, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said: "If Sufi Mohammad has signed the draft of the proposed Shariah package, then it is acceptable to us as he is an expert on Shariah."
TNSM spokesman Izzat Khan said he was satisfied with the outcome of the talks between the government and his group regarding the enforcement of Islamic law in Malakand division, a part of NWFP that includes Swat valley.
A group of clerics in Swat also asked the government to stop military operations in Swat.
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