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Pak-Taliban deal has India worried
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

Pak should not hide involvement of its citizens: Mush

Pakistan should not try to “hide” the involvement of its nationals in the Mumbai terror attacks, former President Pervez Musharraf has said, insisting, “we can’t deceive the world”. “The issue is that the nation and the people should oppose terrorism,” he was quoted as saying. — PTI

New Delhi, February 17
India has shown concern over the deal worked out by the Pakistan government with the Taliban to allow strict Sharia law in parts of the restive North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) with senior officials viewing the development as another indication of the Zardari regime capitulating to Islamic militants.

Though there was no official reaction to it, an official, on condition of anonymity, said the development clearly indicated what New Delhi had been saying for quite sometime — that large parts of Pakistan have been completely “Talibanised” and the government in Islamabad is not in a position to do anything but watch the deteriorating situation helplessly.

“The implications of the development are very clear… this is something which may engulf the entire state of Pakistan. We know what happened at the Lal Masjid in Islamabad just about two years back…we are concerned over the winds of ‘Talibanisation’ blowing in the region,’’ the official added.

Under the agreement, that marks a major concession by Pakistan to hold off the Taliban who have terrorised the people of the region, the government would recognise Sharia for the entire Malakand region, including Swat valley, which is just two hours drive from Islamabad.

And only yesterday, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke had pointed out to the Indian leadership the gravity of the threat from the Taliban to India, Pakistan and the US.

There is a strong feeling in the Indian establishment that the Taliban still enjoys the support of large sections of the Pakistan army, which consider it a lethal weapon that could be used against India, when required. In Pakistan itself, legal experts and other analysts warned that the decision by the authorities would embolden militants in other parts of the country.

The accord came less than a week before the first official visit to Washington by the Pakistani army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, to meet Obama administration officials and discuss how Pakistan could improve its tactics against what the American military is now calling an industrial-strength insurgency there of Al-Qaida and the Taliban. But the truce offered by the Taliban, and accepted by the authorities, rebuffed American demands for the Pakistani civilian and military authorities to stick with the fight against the militants, not make deals with them.

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