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Taliban high court extending writ to Dir

Taliban high court extending writ to Dir

Sunday, February 08, 2009
By Ikram Hoti

CHAKDARA: The Taliban have set up their high court in Kabal Tehsil of Swat, which is fast extending its writ to this town and other parts of Dir district with people taking their litigations to the THC (Taliban High Court) for settlement under the “Islamic Shariah”.

Shuttling between Kabal and Malakand while staying for a couple of nights at Chakdara, this correspondent spoke to a number of local people in Malakand, Thana, Kabal, Warsak, Batkhela and Shergarh about the THC, which has generated a lot of enthusiasm.

Groups of people secretly visit Khalil Mulla, a Taliban leader and FM 91 radio sermon speaker, whose actual name is Mohammad Alam Binori (from Binori village in Swat). This Taliban stalwart issues decrees on radio under Islamic edicts that are mostly translated into “Shariah punishments” and “Jihad activities”.

Listening to his sermons, groups of 15-20 suicidal terrorists assemble at Pyochaar, where they are asked to line up for “the next mission”. When asked who would go for the next ‘Fidaaey’ attack or suicide attack, all of them come forward chanting Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great). The organiser writes their names on separate pieces of paper for a ‘Fidaeey draw’, and the one thus selected is congratulated by others.

This is every day routine for the Pyochaar residents and while all this goes on, there is no police or Army contingent around. Then these Taliban fire into the air jubilantly, and the selected boy is taken to the Taliban local headquarters where he is given the task.

“I wonder why Pyochaar has been left at the mercy of these people by the Army, though they attack the houses of people who listen regularly to Mullah Khalil’s sermons on FM-91,” said a resident who planned to leave the area along with his family and visited a notable in Mardan last week for help in renting a house for the family.

His friend (names are dangerous to mention) told The News that scores of people were lashed publicly in Pyochaar and Mingora daily for alleged crimes. The THC issues convictions from dawn to dusk, and its ‘speedy justice’ is becoming popular with the local people. But the business is badly hurt, as most of the convictions are issued on crimes related to trade on credit and profit. The practice is mostly interpreted by the THC as “usury”, which is prohibited in the Islamic law, say the Taliban.

“Look at these boys,” said an elder of the area. “Not long ago they were supposed to live on village leftovers. They were treated as low-character boys here, but now they are running their high courts.”

He was referring to the Pakhtun tradition of regarding the Mullah and the Talib as mosque-creatures, who were always looked down upon for their unproductive social character and for indulging in immoral activities.

Another elder said, “These boys force people to listen to the FM-91, and when the military people find some one doing so, they launch attack on his house. We are hostage to both sides; we are caught in the crossfire, and there is no escape. The military people tell us to leave the villages as they plan more attacks on terrorists. The Taliban warn us against leaving the villages. They issue warnings that if we leave, they would attack us on our way out. Mullah Khalil even begs to the people not to leave. He tells them that they are fighting for them and Islam. If you leave the villages our cause would be defeated.” They also behead people who defy the Taliban or leave the villages. The headless bodies are found every day on the Zeba (previously Green) Chowk. (The News).