Yesterday's announcement that Zardari has made a deal with the TNSM and installed "Islamic government" in Swat is all over the news. I talked, briefly, with Jerome McDonald of Worldview today. My main point was that there exists a history - 1994, 1999, 2007 - of efforts to install a Shari-Nizam-e-Adl (Islamic Order of Justice) in Swat region. You can check my previous post on Swat to get a sense of this history, Akond of Swat.
More importantly, an absolutely must-read is historian Sultan-i-Rome's paper, Swat: A Critical Analysis [pdf], IPCS Research Paper, January 2009. The paper provides a succinct historical and political overview and also introduces some of the key players. Must read.
Sultan-i-Rome is one of the major, if not the, historian of Swat valley. His monograph, Swat State, 1915-1969: From Genesis to Merger: An Analysis of Political, Administrative, Socio-Political, and Economic Development is key to building a historical overview of the crisis facing the state of Pakistan. I had thought of writing a proper review of the latter, but time slipped away. I will try and do it.
[...] There have been previous announcements of the imposition of Nizam-e-Adl in Swat, but it is unclear if the people’s need for a justice system, any justice system, was met. But the issue of a justice system is distinct from what Mr Fazlullah & Co are trying to establish. The Taliban agenda is to set up an Islamic state on the lines of Mullah Omar’s erstwhile regime in Kabul. Going by their electoral preference—for the secular Awami National Party—it is clear that the people of Swat don’t want that. But now that the Pakistani state has abandoned them, that’s likely to be what they are going to get. [Update: See Sepoy's post] [...]
[...] Ahmed of Chapati Mystery says this is not new as similar deals were struck earlier: There exists a history - 1994, 1999, 2007 - [...]
[...] Ahmed di Chapati Mystery, afferma [in] che non si tratta certo di una novitÃ : simili accordi erano stati presi in precedenza. In [...]
[...] Ahmed bloger Chapati Mystery mengatakan bahwa hal ini bukanlah hal baru, karena perjanjian-perjanjian serupa telah muncul sebelumnya: [...]
[...]  Excellent compilation of information on the troubles in Swat (No Ratings Yet) Loading [...]
Sepoy, Thanks for the Sultan-i-Rome's paper. It helps a great deal to be able to know a bit of context. Being so far away from Pakistan, it is very difficult to know what's actually going on there, what to believe and what not to believe. Reading Pakistani and American editorials, sometimes it feels like the sky is falling :-( Juan cole's latest post about Pakistan. He did a post earlier on about taking a deep breath on Pakistan. I hope Prof. Cole's confidence is not ill-placed. http://www.juancole.com/2009/04/readers-have-written-me-asking-what-i.html