Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taliban Justice. Then and Now

Kahar Zalmay has an excellent report about how he traveled with friends who wanted a small property dispute in Karachi to be solved and had to go to North Waziristan to the court of Khan Said aka Sajna, local Taliban commander. Its a must read.
Part two is here

excerpt: 
Our business was related to the Sajna group of the Mehsud Taliban but there was another group too, the Hakimullah Mehsud group. I was focused on the Sajna group to get to know how it operates.  For Mehsud tribesmen, there were separate offices in Miranshah, which would deal with their matters like land disputes, business disputes and family issues. Areas like Saanp, Makeen, Ladha, Speenkai Raghzai, Baarwan, etc, had their separate offices (markiz) with landline telephone numbers, which the Taliban would openly use to dial numbers across Pakistan. There were around 17 offices for different areas in the main Miranshah bazaar.

Read it all.

It also reminded me of something I wrote 6 years ago after a trip to Karachi. I am posting this unchanged (from an email I wrote at the time). It seems to me that the heroic and optimistic phase of Taliban justice may be over (comparing my 6 year old report to the new one by Kahar Zalmay). Anyway, I think it gives a good idea of how things looked on the ground to at least one pair of drivers who lived in Karachi in 2008. 


I interviewed two pathan drivers from Waziristan and got identical replies from both (the affair with the sister obviously applies to only one of them), so I am posting the rough translation and leave any
conclusions up to you:
Q. Who is now ruling waziristan?
A. The Taliban, led by Baitullah Mehsud.
Q. What if he is killed?
A. He will be replaced. This is an organized movement. It is not dependent on any one person. If he is killed, someone equally capable will replace him, inshallah.
Q. How do you find their rule?
A. Much much better than the rule of Pakistan used to be.

Now, there is peace among the tribes and hundred year old disputes have been settled honorably and all parties have accepted the settlement because they all know that it is according to shariah and is fair. Now there is rule of law instead of rule of the gun. Anyone who violates the shariah will face justice. All those who live by the rules have nothing to fear.
Q. What about the war on terror?
A. Yes, the war is a problem and this will continue for some years. We expect that the Pakistani army will continue to fight us because their generals have abandoned Islam and become slaves of America. But still, rule by the Taliban is better, even with the war. Better than the rule of the political agents and their sardars.
Q. What about development work?
A. Development work increased in the last few years, thanks to the Taliban. In the past, the sardars and the poltical agents would steal all the money meant for development. But in the last 2 years, they
were warned by the Taliban to spend those funds fairly, So roads and colleges have been built. There is some problem because of the war now, but we hope there will be more development when peace is
restored. Of course, no behayaaee (shamelessness) is allowed. Half naked women and music and other abominations will not be allowed.
Q. What about your own life in Karachi?
A. The Taliban rule here too. The pathan colonies have many ANP and PPP supporters but they also have taliban representitives to handle legal disputes. We had a problem. our sister was married at an early age, but then there was dushmani and she was sent home and is now at our home. But the man
would not grant a divorce,  so we could not marry her anywhere else. It was a big problem. We got a degree from a Pakistani court, but nobody could enforce it for us. We got a fatwa from the local mufti, but still the man would not give her a formal divorce. Then we went to the Taliban court here in Karachi. They called that man in. He said he needed to consult relatives in Waziristan, so the Taliban court gave him 3 days. In 3 days he came back. The taliban heard the whole case and gave a
judgement. He had to divorce her. He gave the divorce right there and then. RIGHT THERE IN THE COURT! Where else can you get justice like this?
Q. What if he did not obey them?
A. (laughing) Then he will pay a very heavy price. No one can disobey them. They are strong and they have justice and Islamic law on their side. Why would anyone disobey them?

Q. What did you have to pay to have your case heard?
A. Nothing sahib. NOT a penny. This is Islamic law sahib, not the Pakistani courts.
Q. What if they start passing bad orders?
A. Sahib, you think this is a joke, but this is not a joke. They are good people and they have changed the face of Waziristan. They are organized. They follow Islamic law. Why would they give bad orders?
anyone can make one mistake. but if they stop following Islamic law, we would all stop obeying them. After all, we know what Islamic law is. Disputes going back centuries have been settled in days. It is
almost like what you hear about the coming of Islam in Arabia. You too should do dawah and convert some kafirs in America to save your akhirat (afterlife). We Muslims should have rule of law. Look at the kafirs, they have rule of law, even though those are man-made laws, not the laws of Allah. We
should not be ruled by corrupt generals or other self seeking persons. Wouldn't it be better to be ruled by Islamic law? Wouldnt it be better to have real justice? under the Taliban, even the weak have rights. Alhamdolillah.