That swirling sound you hear is Pakistan going down the drain...

The government of Pakistan has agreed to allow the imposition of Sharia law in parts of the violent Swat region.

Can you say, abject surrender?

From the New York Times:

Pakistan government officials said they struck a deal on Monday to accept a legal system compatible with Shariah law in the violent Swat region in return for peace.

The agreement contradicted American demands for the Pakistan authorities to fight harder against militants, and seemed certain to raise fears in Washington that a perilous precedent had been set across a volatile region where U.S. forces are fighting Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The latest sign of the battle came early on Monday when a suspected United States drone fired four missiles into another area of northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, killing 31 people, according to a government official and a resident.

The deal on the Swat region was conditional on both sides fulfilling their side of the bargain, government officials said.

They said the authorities agreed to a legal system rejecting any law that did not comply with the teachings of the Koran and the sayings and teachings of the prophet Muhammad, known as the Sunnah.

“After successful negotiations, all un-Islamic laws related to the judicial system, those against the Koran and the Sunnah, would be subject to cancellation and considered null and void,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister of the North West Frontier Province, according to Reuters.


First, it should be said that this recognizes what was already pretty much a reality in the area. The writ of Pakistani law has not run in the Swat region for years and acknowledging that fact by treaty is not necessarily a surprise.

The disaster is in the message this sends to the rest of the regions in the North West Frontier Provinces. If the government is going to surrender their soveriegnty so easily, there will no doubt be stepped up pressure by other districts like North and South Waziristan to get the same deal.

The government of Pakistan is proving to be a weak sister in the war on terror. Even someone as assertive and smart as Richard Holbrooke who has recently been dispatched to the region to buck up the Pakistanis and get them to be more pro-active in battling the Taliban as well as closing off the border with Afghanistan, will probably not have much of an impact.

Is there a possibility of a military coup? There have been three military strongmen in the last 30 years so it is not outside the realm of the possible. But each coup came about to stop rampant corruption by the prime minister and not for religious or political reasons. The army is made up of about 20% Pashtuns who would likely look favorably on treaties that instituted Sharia law. Already, Pashtun units are not given front line assignments in "Pastunistan" which is what Pakistan calls the border region with Afghanistan. So the question of the army taking over is, at this point, probably moot.

Is it time to throw Pakistan under the bus? There is a large minority in the government and military on friendly terms with us and it is probably too early to ignore them and take matters into our own hands. But as western-friendly MP's and generals become more and more marginalized, there may come a time when the US and NATO will ignore the strictures laid down by the Pakistani government and try and solve the problem of infiltration and al-Qaeda training facilities ourselves.


The government of Pakistan has agreed to allow the imposition of Sharia law in parts of the violent Swat region.

Can you say, abject surrender?

From the New York Times:

Pakistan government officials said they struck a deal on Monday to accept a legal system compatible with Shariah law in the violent Swat region in return for peace.

The agreement contradicted American demands for the Pakistan authorities to fight harder against militants, and seemed certain to raise fears in Washington that a perilous precedent had been set across a volatile region where U.S. forces are fighting Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The latest sign of the battle came early on Monday when a suspected United States drone fired four missiles into another area of northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, killing 31 people, according to a government official and a resident.

The deal on the Swat region was conditional on both sides fulfilling their side of the bargain, government officials said.

They said the authorities agreed to a legal system rejecting any law that did not comply with the teachings of the Koran and the sayings and teachings of the prophet Muhammad, known as the Sunnah.

“After successful negotiations, all un-Islamic laws related to the judicial system, those against the Koran and the Sunnah, would be subject to cancellation and considered null and void,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister of the North West Frontier Province, according to Reuters.


First, it should be said that this recognizes what was already pretty much a reality in the area. The writ of Pakistani law has not run in the Swat region for years and acknowledging that fact by treaty is not necessarily a surprise.

The disaster is in the message this sends to the rest of the regions in the North West Frontier Provinces. If the government is going to surrender their soveriegnty so easily, there will no doubt be stepped up pressure by other districts like North and South Waziristan to get the same deal.

The government of Pakistan is proving to be a weak sister in the war on terror. Even someone as assertive and smart as Richard Holbrooke who has recently been dispatched to the region to buck up the Pakistanis and get them to be more pro-active in battling the Taliban as well as closing off the border with Afghanistan, will probably not have much of an impact.

Is there a possibility of a military coup? There have been three military strongmen in the last 30 years so it is not outside the realm of the possible. But each coup came about to stop rampant corruption by the prime minister and not for religious or political reasons. The army is made up of about 20% Pashtuns who would likely look favorably on treaties that instituted Sharia law. Already, Pashtun units are not given front line assignments in "Pastunistan" which is what Pakistan calls the border region with Afghanistan. So the question of the army taking over is, at this point, probably moot.

Is it time to throw Pakistan under the bus? There is a large minority in the government and military on friendly terms with us and it is probably too early to ignore them and take matters into our own hands. But as western-friendly MP's and generals become more and more marginalized, there may come a time when the US and NATO will ignore the strictures laid down by the Pakistani government and try and solve the problem of infiltration and al-Qaeda training facilities ourselves.