In a bid to halt violence, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has signed a bill imposing strict Islamic law in the north west of the country.
The approval came after Pakistan’s parliament unanimoulsy passed the resolution following an agreement in February with religious leaders in the Swat valley. They had demanded Sharia law in return for an end to the Taliban insurgency.
Pakistan has seen a surge in militant attacks. Terrorists have killed more than 1700 people since July 2007 and the spread of the Taliban’s influence in Pakistan’s north west tribal belt has raised question marks over the nuclear armed power’s stability — seen as a vital ally to the US in its fight to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.
However, critics claim the new resolution will embolden militants and lead to human rights abuses.