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A few days ago it was reported that te government of Pakistan signed a deal with tribes in the Northwest Frontier Province enabling Sharia law to take effect there.

This deal shows the serious lack of power the Pakistani government has. On the surface this might seem like a deal done out of goodwill but it is nothing more than just giving up more power to people who are going to do nothing but abuse it. This is not getting even close to the root of the problem in Pakistan.

There are a multitude of things wrong in that country and it all starts with the weak national government. The government in pakistan has no power and influence to get anything effective done. Many times all they do is bicker about weak societal argumnets and splinter themselves around relgious groups. On top of that the main spy agency, the ISI functions as a rogue paramilitary organization, an organization within an organization, with many strong ties to terrorist organizations. Add to that the people with whom the deal was struck have sympathies with those in the Taliban. We really need to do soemthing about Pakistan because in his foolishness, Bush went to go start a dubious war instead of concentrating on the central front front of Islamic terrorist activity.

President Obama needs to back up his words on this. What we need to do is secretly start giving support to the Pakistani national government. People already have conspiracies there about the US doing this, the US doing that, so having people doing something there won't matter much. We need to win over the people first in order to obatain information on terrorists and we are not going to be able to do that with drone bombings. I do agree there is a time and a place to strike but we need to do more. I applaud the decision to appoint Richard Holbooke special advisor and i think that is a good place to start. But we need to do more to combat the extremism that is in that region and giving up power is not the way to do it.

Originally posted to mishal817 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:06 PM PST.


Was the Pakistani government right in letting Sharia law govern the tribal regions?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sharia... (0+ / 0-)

    ...already holds sway in many areas of Pakistan.  Has done so for decades--It's quick and dirty justice.

    Also, how does this relate to Obama covertly funding the national government in Pakistan? Funding them to do what?

    Stamp out Sharia?

    Hunt down Bin Laden?

    Lose even more troops fighting Waziris?

    the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

    by Salo on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:24:15 PM PST

    •  all of the above? n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  I dont think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that it holds sway in many areas, especially in the urban areas. There are more progressive Islamic groups in the country but they do not tend to speak out for fear of mockery and retribution. I am not saying that we need to send troops in there and start fight but we do need to do something. There are no simple solutions to Pakistan but we do need somewhere to start.

      •  yes, progressive Islamic groups. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The state was founded on Islamic separatism. They are militantly hostile to Hindus scratch the surface and you'll find they have contempt for Christians--trained from birth more or less: population 175,000,000. This is not an ecouraging statistic for "starting" "somewhere". A trillion dollars was poured into controlling the behaviour of about 6 million Sunni Arabs in Iraq. Do the multiplication...

        the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

        by Salo on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:44:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand your cynicism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but that dosen't mean we shouldn't do something. Lack of action will make things worse

          •  This is not cynicism. (0+ / 0-)

            There are more Pakistanis than there are Russians. There are more Fundies in Pakistan than the entire population of Sunni Iraq. Afghanistan and Iraq are relatively small states. Just think about the logistics involved in reforming Pakistan.

            Has anyone even glanced at the numbers?  It's estimated that no more than 5,000 Sunni rebels (from a base of a few million Sunnis) ran America ragged in the Baghdad-Ramadi-Tikrit triangle. Multiply that 100 fold and add 50.

            the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

            by Salo on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:50:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Giving in to aggressive breeding strategies. (0+ / 0-)

              These four factors typically occur together:  religious extremism, tribal nationalism, the use of women as breeding-machines, and treatment of women as property.  

              Giving in to the aggressive breeding strategy is abject surrender on all four fronts.  

              No thanks.  

    •  translation: (0+ / 0-)

      "Pakistan" is really a small area controlled by a central government, and the "tribal regions" are a great big area where Al Qaeda can grow like some kind of bacterial plague.  

  •  Juan Cole's global affairs blog gives (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weasel, capelza, mishal817

    an overview of the formal establishment of Sharia law over the Swat area of Pakistan:

    However, even the Pakistani constitution holds that no law may violate Islamic law. Even though Pakistan has been a military dictatorship for years, there is still an undercurrent of a theocracy as the military and religionists manipulate each other to their own ends. The US blundered into a complex situation with simplistic solutions.

    •  Good link (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, Eiron, JDsg

      Saying "Sharia law" doesn't really tell you anything.  There are as many different forms of "Sharia law" as there are of "common law" or "civil law."  So the real question is, what does the law say, who is controlling it or enforcing it, how much of a change is this from what was there previously, and is this anything like what the people there want?

      I can't answer any of those questions.  

      •  Ifwe can be assured (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that "sharia" doesn't mean honor killings, burkhas and burning girl's schools, maybe it won't be so bad.  Thing is, that's what sharia means to me...

        No politician ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. PT Barnum, paraphrased...

        by jarhead5536 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:35:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, JDsg

          with all respect, who cares what it means to you?  If we can answer the questions I posed above, we might figure out what it means in the Swat Valley.

        •  Although very primative (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, capelza

          this law isnt always about those things. The thing is about islamic law is that words can be bent very much by those who want to profit from it. The Qu'ran and other Islamic texts are very much esoteric and have multiple meanings which a lot of people mistakenly take literally

        •  if the end of honour killings... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg, Empty Vessel

          ...burnings and burkahs are the foreign policy goal-
          We will be there for a very very long time.  They were doing this stuff 70 years ago when teh Raj was running things.  They'll be doing it still when the CPA (Chinese Provisional Authority) are running things in 70 years.

          the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

          by Salo on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:54:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Good point and one often obscured (0+ / 0-)

        as Islam is not as monolithic as Christianity and does not have its inherent authority structures. What constitutes law is very dependent upon location and locale. In hindsight, since the point is often made that Islam has not undergone a Reformation nor an Enlightenment, it occurs to me that it is not monolithic enough for such movements to arise, as these movements in Christianity were in response to a rigid authoritarian absolutist sort of ecclesiastical control over everyday life.

        •  it only had a scism. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Reformation implies some forward thinking.  orthodox v catholic  Not Protestant v catholic.

          And in that area of Pakistan, the Raj directly ruled for 200 years--outlawing things like Sutti and the like.  It made progress but ultimately these guys have a very different culture.

          the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

          by Salo on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:58:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So do you really think that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        enlightened Sufi philosophers will be appointed as judges under Sharia law, and settle cases by directing the parties to read the poetry of Hafiz until they are overcome by the spirit of universal love...?

        Yeah I'd like that outcome too.

        But it's about as likely as an alien space ship landing on the White House lawn.  

  •  I wrote this yesterday in another diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weasel, mishal817

    The Northwest Frontier of Pakistan has really never been anything other than an autonomous region within Pakistan.  Islamic law (or at least some bastardized version of it) has been the norm for a long time.  Whether the Pakistani government or the Brits, they basically erected a fence and said we ain't gonna deal with these crazies, just not worth it.  Its a smart move by the Pakistani's to concede a defacto ground truth as part as part of their negotiations.

    An open mind gets filled with crap.

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:35:47 PM PST

    •  I agree about the autonomy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weasel, Empty Vessel

      But I think that this deal makes the government look unnecessarily weak. When you officialy give up rule of law there is no going back

      •  Basically we need a truce (0+ / 0-)

        For centuries, the folks up in the NWFP have been a problem for local states in Afghanistan and South Asia.  Now, with globalism, the folks up in the NWFP have become a worldwide problem.  Century after century, new kingdoms have tried to militarily subdue the region, only to fail.  In the end, all have chosen a truce model, namely, you crazy fuckers do what you like up there, but leave the rest of us alone.  

        This isn't a nice solution (think honor killings and general brutality).  But if the NWFP cannot be subdued militarily, it is really the only choice.

        An open mind gets filled with crap.

        by Empty Vessel on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:51:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  your conditional IF statement isn't a foregone (0+ / 0-)


          "If" they leave us alone.  

          As I mentioned elsewhere, a handful of guys with access to a highschool chem/bio lab and about $12k in funding, can whip up a pandemic.  

    •  these stone-age crazies have modern weapons. (0+ / 0-)

      So one way or another we are going to have to deal with them.

      Particularly since it is now possible for a half dozen people with access to a highschool chem/bio lab and about $12k in funding, to whip up a global pandemic.  

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