According to New York Times, 70 police officers were beheaded, shot or otherwise slain in Swat last year. The police have become so afraid that many officers have put advertisements in newspapers renouncing their jobs so the Taliban will not kill them.
Al Jazeera English also laments the paradise lost in this piece.
The radical cleric uses FM radio to pass on his decrees to the local population. So effective is his grip on the valley, that the government’s influence is now largely confined to just 36 square kilometres of territory in and around Mingora.
Fazalullah runs a self-styled judiciary, which hears cases and hands down verdicts.
A treasury collects ushr (the Islamic practice of collecting one-tenth of agricultural produce). Last month, they also collected animal hides worth millions of rupees on Eid Al Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice.
His feared – and well-equipped – rebel army reportedly takes its cue from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an extremist organisation headed by Baitullah Masud, the commander suspected of authoring the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister, in 2007.
The NYT article also has a priceless quote by Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman. He came up with this absolute gem:
“Just because they (The Taliban) come out at night and throw down four or five bodies in the square does not mean that militants control anything.”
I wonder how the families of those four or five bodies thrown in the square would react to such a cavalier response to the death of their loved ones.
PS: At times I do wonder if we deserve people like Mullah Fazlullah lording over us, after all, a group of people who actually gather to watch public lashings and beheadings deserve someone like him.
Image courtesy: European Pressphoto Agency via NYT