RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


Who are the “Taliban” in Swat? | Humeira Iqtidar

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( Dated Piece | 30 April 2009 )

Source: Open Democracy

The distorting glare of the mainstream media obscures a more complex reality in restive Pakistan

Who are the ” Taliban” in Pakistan? Islamist militants in the country have won significant international attention after wrestling control over the Swat Valley, the restive region in northern Pakistan where elements of sharia law are now in place. Yet these militants do not self-identify as “Taliban”, unlike the Afghan Taliban who chose the name for themselves, and preferred it to the then generic term “mujahideen”. The term “Taliban” means students; the original Taliban were educated in madrassas, religious schools. Groups and individuals that are being labelled the “Taliban in Pakistan” (TIP) are very different from their Afghan counterparts in important respects. It is pertinent not just to think through the implications of these differences but also to raise questions about why distinguishing details are being lost in the media frenzy of recent months.

In Swat, the group that has gained the most notoriety in recent months calls itself Tehreek Nifaz e Sharia Mohammadi (TNSM).  This can be roughly translated as the “Movement for the Continue reading

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