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Trouble in Pakistan

Agreement with Muslim extremists bodes ill for religious freedom.

To quell ongoing violence, the government of Pakistan has reached an agreement with Taliban militants to allow shari'ah law to be implemented in the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province. The Swat Valley used to be a popular tourist destination.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is expressing alarm.

If the proposed agreement enacts or otherwise strengthens sharia law under Taliban-associated extremists, human rights stand to suffer. As the Commission has previously documented, the Taliban's implementation of sharia law in Afghanistan led to serious human rights abuses, such as the forced implementation of their social and religious norms, the imposition of discriminatory evidentiary standards against women and non-Muslims, repression of religious minorities, and abuses targeting women and girls. "The women and girls of Swat have already endured egregious and abusive limitations on their mobility and right to education, and will be particularly vulnerable under a Taliban-influenced sharia legal code," said [Commission Chair Felice D.] Gaer.
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Posted:February 25, 2009 at 3:45PM
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