April 13, 2009 was indeed a sad day for Pakistan, when the president and Parliament handed over Swat and Malakand division of NWFP to the Taliban to establish their brand of Shariah laws in place of Pakistans own Islamic judicial system. The federal government and the provincial administration of NWFP surrendered to Sufi Muhammad and his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban commanders in Swat, who after letting loose a reign of terror in the Swat Valley, blackmailed the provincial government to sign a deal with Sufi Muhammad to allow him to introduce his Qazi courts to establish a parallel judiciary in their region. This happened after the Pakistan army decided to discontinue operation against the militants in Swat. In our surrender to Taliban we have shattered the dream of Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam and millions of their followers who created a homeland for the Muslims of India to establish a forward looking, liberal and progressive Muslim state; not a state controlled by an obscurantist and retrogressive radical group which against modern education of science and technology, who want to keep women the better half of this countrys population ignorant and confined to the four walls of their houses just for the pleasure of male chauvinists. It is regrettable that the present government which calls itself a democracy and a successor to late Benazir Bhutto, has succumbed to the elements who have declared democracy haram and who are against womens education. They say music, TV, films are all haram. Our so-called democratic government has capitulated to these elements. Emboldened by his victory, against the army and Parliament, Sufi Muhammad has declared the Supreme Court and all other courts of Pakistan as well as the democratic government of Pakistan as un-Islamic. The nation is now looking at the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take action against people like Sufi Muhammad and his renegade followers in Malakand and Swat. It may be recalled that the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mr Holbrooke, had strongly opposed Pakistans ceasefire agreement with the militants in Swat. He felt this would allow the militants to re-arm and regroup. This is probably the reason that President Zardari had been dilly delaying the signing of the agreement, which was a constitutional requirement. But he was pressurised by ANP, PPPs coalition partner in NWFP, when this so-called secular party headed by the grandson of the late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, threatened to break his partys alliance with the Peoples Party. The president made a clever move to have the draft of the Nifaz-i-Shariat Regulation approved by the National Assembly prior to affixing his signature to it. Isnt it surprising that the majority of members of the National Assembly approved the agreement in a matter of minutes like robots, without even carefully reading it and giving proper thought to its consequences. The MQM which has always been opposed to Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi of the Taliban brand, did not oppose, but abstained and walked out of the assembly to register their protest. The MQM MNAs should have taken a principled stand and voted against the move and be counted. In that case the government could not have claimed that the House unanimously passed the proposal which was later signed by the president. Didnt MQM realise that the harmless looking proposal of Sufi Muhammad might prove a cornerstone for the fulfilment of the dream of mullahs to convert Pakistan into a retrogressive theocratic state like Afghanistan when it was ruled by Talibans. Only a few days have passed since the approval of the Regulation, that Sufi Muhammad has now started showing his true colours. When asked in an interview by a private TV channel, whether the new Qazi courts would hear complaints from Swat residents about the atrocities on them by Maulana Fazlullah or his followers, he said they could not. We intend to bury the past. Things will be left behind and we will go for a new life in peace. This was followed by a clear cut announcement by the Taliban leadership in Swat that they will not lay down their arms in the northwestern valley as part of a deal that included the introduction of Shariah Law but will take their struggle to new areas. Although the government officials backing the pact claimed that under the deal the militants would give up their arms, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman in the Swat Valley has said: They would be keeping their guns. He said: Shariah doesnt permit us to lay down arms. If a government, either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, continues anti-Muslim policies, its out of the question that the Taliban lay down their arms. So the violation of the agreement has already begun. God save Pakistan The writer is former director news, PTV E-mail: burhanhasan@hotmail.com