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In Bajaur, Taliban begin enforcing Islamic law

In Bajaur, Taliban begin enforcing Islamic law

Author: Press Trust of India
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: April 12, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/in-bajaur-taliban-begin-enforcing-islamic-l/446009/

The Pakistani Taliban have begun enforcing Shariah in the Bajaur tribal region even as scores of militants consolidated their hold on Buner district, located 100 km from Islamabad.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the militant commander in Bajaur Agency and a deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, announced the decision to enforce Shariah in the region during a broadcast on his illegal FM radio station on Friday.

Mohammad also barred women from stepping out of their homes without male relatives, banned shaving of beards and warned people against availing assistance from the Benazir Income Support Programme, a Government project to provide financial aid to women.

During a 40-minute speech on radio, Mohammad said he and his fighters would spare no effort to strictly implement Islamic laws in the region. The Taliban have formed an "action group" to ensure the enforcement of Shariah and to punish people who violate their edicts.

Mohammad said that shaving of beards and men not wearing skull caps are "practices of Jews and their followers". People who listened to his radio broadcast described Mohammad's tone as "aggressive".

The militant commander also said people supporting the Benazir Income Support Programme and NGOs would be produced before Shariah courts.

Meanwhile, scores of Taliban fighters from Swat who entered Buner have begun consolidating their hold on the region and taking control of more areas, including the shrine of Sufi saint Pir Baba.

Earlier, following peace talks with a tribal jirga, the militants had announced that they would pull out of Buner. The security forces offered no resistance as the militants took over more areas, the Dawn reported.

Militants set on fire TV sets, pictures and paintings and audio and video cassettes before Friday prayers. They locked the shrine of Pir Baba and stopped followers of the saint from visiting the site.

The militants also delivered sermons in village mosques. "We have been asked by our seniors not to interfere with the Taliban," an officer of the Pir Baba police station told Dawn.

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