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Thousands attend rally in Swat Valley


(19 Apr 2009) AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING
1. Wide of people on vehicles
2. Wide of people walking into the Grasi ground, where the rally will take place, chanting slogans
3. Various of people at rally at the Grasi ground
4. Mid of stage at the rally
5. Mid of rally
6. SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Sufi Muhammad, Chief Maulana of Tehrik Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammed (TNSM):
“I ask all the judges in Malakand division to withdraw from the area.”
7. Pan left of audience
8. SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Sufi Muhammad, Chief Maulana of Tehrik Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammed (TNSM):
“The government should announce to implement Islamic Law in real form.”
9. Mid of rally
10. Wide of people leaving rally
STORYLINE
A hardline cleric in Pakistan on Sunday told thousands of supporters gathered at a rally that the Pakistan government should do more to enforce Islamic law in the Swat Valley.
Sufi Muhammad, of Tehrik Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammed (TNSM), who was addressing supporters in Mingora, the main city in the valley, said Pakistani officials needed to “implement Islamic Law in real form.”
Muhammad said he and his supporters were not trying to challenge the government’s authority.
Muhammad mediated the deal with the Pakistani government to impose Islamic law in the valley and surrounding areas in exchange for peace with the Taliban.
But the terms of the deal remain murky.
Pakistani officials have insisted an Islamic judicial system in Swat would not echo the harsh rule of the ousted Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The recent move to impose Islamic law in the valley riled human rights activists and drew criticism from the White House.
Under intense international pressure, especially from the United States, Pakistan has tried various tactics to crack down on militancy, including negotiations.
The developments in Swat have alarmed US and other Western leaders, who nonetheless feel they cannot afford to let nuclear-armed Pakistan fall to the grip of militancy.
Donors including the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia on Friday pledged more than 5 (b) billion US dollars to shore up Pakistan’s shaky economy and pay for schemes to alleviate poverty and bolster its security forces in a longer-term drive to dry up support for extremism.

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