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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Islamic courts start function in Pakistan's insurgency-hit Swat

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 13, IRNA – Islamic courts on Thursday started function in Pakistan insurgency-hit Swat valley under an agreement signed last month by a cleric and the provincial government, a senior official said.

Qazis or judges started presiding over courts in four places in Swat valley to pacify the armed Taliban fighters, who fought fierce battle against the security forces over the past 18 months.

Hundreds of people mostly civilians have been killed in the fighting.

Hundreds of thousands others fled the area.

Last month Sufi Muhammad, a top cleric, who leads banned outfit Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TSNM), struck a deal with the government in North West Frontier (NWFP), of which Swat is a part.

Taliban and the forces announced ceasefire to facilitate the agreement, which also urged both sides to open roads.

“We have revived the Islamic courts and Qazis (judges) on March 12,” Commissioner Syed Muhamamd Javed said.

Javed and Sufi Muhammad led a big procession to four places in Swat and appointed ‘Qazis’ or judges in court in the presence of hundreds of people.

The areas where Qazis have started function are considered to be the hold of Taliban militants.

The areas included Matta, Khwazakhela, Kabal and Barikot.

Under the last month agreement, all un-Islamic laws are abolished in parts of the northwest including swat valley.

President Asif Ali Zardari has not yet signed the new law called "Nizam-e-Adal Regulations" but even then the local authorities asked Qazis to start work to avoid any misunderstanding with the militants.

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