Filed under: Indian Subcontinent | Tags: Afghan Taliban, AfPak, Benazir Bhutto, Buner, Chand Bibi, Colonialism, Fata, Feminism, Flogging, Honour Killing, Imperialism, Iran, ISI, Madrassa, Malakand, Maulana Fazlullah, Militarism, Mujahideen, Mullah Omar, Nizam-e-Adl, Pakistan, Pakistani Army, Paternalism, President Asif Ali Zardari, Protests, Punjab, Racism, Saba Mahmood, Sharia, Shirin Ebadi, Sindh, Sufi Mohammed, Swat, Swat Flogging, Swat Taliban, Taliban, Tehreek Nifaz e Sharia Mohammadi, US bombing, US Drone Attacks, US Invasion, War, Women's Rights, Yusuf Raza Gilani
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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.