Govt fiddling as Swat burns: HRCP

Press Release, January 27

Lahore: Swat Taliban summoning politicians and citizens to their so-called sharia courts is further testimony, if testimony was needed, of the absence of state’s writ and growing boldness of militants, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said.

A press statement issued by HRCP on Tuesday said: “Repeated official vows of regaining control of the security situation in the Swat valley have been laid bare by extremists’ call to politicians from the restive valley to appear before Taliban courts. The situation has worsened to this extent largely because of the government’s denial and appalling inability to even jam a radio station broadcasting propaganda by the Taliban.

It is all very well to issue statements vowing not to allow parallel justice, but increasingly it seems that Taliban’s justice and rule has no competition in the Swat region.

Government claims of having control over the area are impossible to believe when citizens continue to be killed in brazen attacks and the illegal Taliban radio station even announces the names of the people that they would kill later in the day.

Provincial and national lawmakers have conceded the government has no control over the area. Yet surprisingly, the urgency in the government’s approach towards addressing the issue is conspicuous by its absence. The government must immediately share a frank assessment of the security situation with the people instead of watered down claims of control. It must also share an objective analysis of any progress, or lack thereof, during the military operation. The government’s strategy to restore law and order in Swat has clearly not worked and need to be revised promptly and in a transparent manner.

The efforts and responsibility to restore order must be shared by all political entities, especially those with representation in the legislature. Also, all segments of the society, including the religious communities, must no longer remain mere spectators to this shocking breakdown of the state apparatus and must pressurise the government to handle the situation in a more transparent and comprehensible manner.”

Dr. Mehdi Hassan

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