Cleric leads 'peace march' through Pakistan's Swat

Swat valley residents have joined a "peace march" led by a Muslim religious leader.

Cleric leads 'peace march' through Pakistan's Swat

Swat valley residents have joined a "peace march" led by a Muslim religious leader.

Maulana Sufi Mohammad negotiated a 10-day truce between Pakistani Taliban fighters and government soldiers in exchange for implementing Sharia, or Islamic law, in the region.



"I ask you to remain peaceful. We have reached an agreement with the provincial government and Nizam-e-Adl (Islamic system of justice) will soon be enforced here," Mohammad told several thousands gathered in Mingora, the main town in Swat.

"People will soon start getting justice and there will be a durable peace," he said.



The marchers, most also wearing black turbans, later drove to meet Taliban leaders at their stronghold in the village of Matta, some 18 km (11 miles) away.

"Maulana Sufi Mohammad's presence here is a blessing for the people of Swat as we can now hope for peace in the valley," said Zahoor Ahmed, a farmer who had come to town to join the rally.

No-one carried weapons and there were no signs of any security for the march, though vehicles entering Mingora were checked by masked Taliban fighters.



President Asif Ali Zardari will only sign off on the deal to implement an Islamic system of justice across the Malakand division of North West Frontier Province, which includes Swat, if peace is genuinely restored, aides said.

The Taliban announced a 10-day ceasefire the night before Mohammad's representatives struck a deal with the provincial government of North West Frontier Province.



Agencies

Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2009, 16:53
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