Mohmand Taliban behead 6 ‘criminals’
* ‘Sharia court’ in Swat sentences 3 to lashing for kidnapping two women
* People told to contact militants for redress of problems
* Swat DCO says cleric being contacted
By Saleem Athar
PESHAWAR: Pro-Taliban militants publicly beheaded six alleged criminals and lashed three others on Friday, officials and witnesses said.
In the lawless Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan, rebels decapitated six members of a kidnap-for-ransom gang after a blood-soaked feud, local government official Miraj Khan said, reported AFP.
The official said the altercation started when militants on Thursday night raided the house of the gang’s chief in connection with the death of one of their colleagues. The gang leader opened fire, killing four of the militants. However, they later killed him and five of his family members, burned down his house and seized another six of his followers.
“The militants on Friday publicly beheaded all six of them while holding funeral prayers for their own colleagues,” Miraj told AFP.
Sharia court punishes: Meanwhile, pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah’s private Sharia court punished three alleged criminals by lashing them in public, eyewitnesses said.
“After the government’s indifference, we have set up our own private Islamic court to dispense justice to the people and today is the beginning of the struggle for a cherished goal (enforcement of Sharia),” Sirajuddin, spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah, told Daily Times after the court’s first Islamic punishment was executed in Swat district.
According to the spokesman, the three alleged criminals were caught “red-handed” while trying to kidnap two women from Matta Tehsil last month. Shamroz, Bukhtiar and Muhammad Sher were awarded 25, 20 and 15 lashes each, respectively.
Maulana Shah Dauran, head of the private Islamic court, read out the crime the three men allegedly committed as well as the punishment they had been awarded, adding that the punishment was “reformatory” and not under the penal code.
Eyewitnesses said the three men had neither pleaded guilty nor innocent before they were lashed. Maulana Fazlullah’s armed guards warned the media against photographing or taping the punishment.
District administration concerned: Swat District Coordination Officer Syed Muhammad Javed said the district administration was contacting the cleric to ask him to stop making such punishments. A security official in Peshawar said he had reported to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government in September last year that the cleric could pose a serious threat if he were left unchecked, but “the provincial government simply ignored the warnings”.
Calling justice: Meanwhile, on Thursday, Maulana Fazlullah’s armed masked men held a flag march in Khawazakhela Tehsil to announce to the general public that they could be contacted for redress of their problems, because “the district administration no longer existed”.
“These are the cellular phone numbers to contact for any dispensation of justice,” the masked men were quoted as telling the residents. They also warned CD-shop owners to stop their “un-Islamic” business immediately.