By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

Taliban militants are spreading there influence in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Pakistani Christians and advocacy groups remained concerned Monday, April 20, that militant Muslims will impose strict Islamic law across Pakistan after parliament approved such legislation in a key area of the country, while dramatic television footage showed the flogging of a teenage girl.

Last week Pakistan’s government, backed by parliament, agreed to allow ‘Sharia’ , or Muslim law, in the volatile Swat valley, a move Christians described as a “desperate attempt” by authorities to create peace with the militant Taliban group.

However Todd Nettleton of the United States-based advocacy and aid group Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM), warned that the Taliban would view its legal success in Swat valey as an encouragement to impose Sharia laws elsewhere in Pakistan.

Swat Valley, “is the part of Pakistan that is known to be the most-radical Islamic and therefore most-radical anti-Christian,” Nettleton told Christian broadcaster Mission Network News. “We have had Christian workers in that area who’ve been kidnapped, they have been badly mistreated, and they’ve been beaten because of their Christian witness. Some have been killed, simply because they were known to be Christians and known to be involved in outreach to Muslims,” he added.


He spoke shortly after a firebrand Islamist cleric, who was released on bail after almost two years under house arrest, returned triumphantly Friday, April 17, to his former mosque in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, where he called on a crowd of chanting followers to spread the crusade for Islamic law across the country.

Maulana Abdul Aziz and other speakers hailed the imposition of Sharia law in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat region, which parliament and President Asif Ali Zardari approved Tuesday, April 14.

“If the government wants peace and stability, it should adopt the Islamic system,” Aziz said in published remarks. “But if it chooses the path of aggression and force, it will further aggravate the situation.”

The impact of Sharia law was already felt by a 17-year-old girl before it was officially approved by Pakistan’s parliament. A two-minute mobile phone video, broadcast on the Internet and Pakistani networks, showed pro-Taliban militants beating a veiled Chand Bibi for allegedly having “illicit” relations.


Taliban spokesperson Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging that took place in early January, news reports said. The incident has sparked outrage in Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the flogging while Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has sought a report on it.

The Commission for Peace and Human Development (CPHD), a Catholic-led human rights organization, said the incident has “depicted Pakistan as a lawless state and a barbaric civilization.”

“What else can we expect from having peace deals with criminals who capture police stations, destroy girl schools and create an unsafe atmosphere,” added CPHN Executive Director Waseem Anthony, referring to Taliban militants in Swat valley.

Protests against such Taliban acts have reportedly been held across the country. The biggest gathering was in Lahore where 1,000 people, including students, teachers, human rights activists, actors, artists, journalists and lawyers took part, news reports said.

The United States has also expressed concerns over the increased Taliban activities in Pakistan, saying they form a threat to stability in the region.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here