Taliban in Swat valley using local grievances: World Bank

The World Bank report noted that formal justice systems were weak or broken down in places like Swat.

Washington: The Taliban gained support in Pakistan’s Swat valley in part by hinging upon a variety of local grievances like weaknesses in local law enforcement and justice institutions, a new World Bank report has said.

Discussing the situation in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the ‘World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development’[ stressed the need for removing or amending laws perceived as unjust and discriminatory- such as the Frontier Crimes Regulation- which applies a legal regime to the tribal areas differing from the rest of Pakistan.

The report noted that formal systems for the provision of justice were weak or broken down in places like Swat.

“At the local level, this breakdown opens gaps not only in the core criminal justice system, but also in the regulation of land and family disputes,” the Dawn quoted the report, as saying.

“Such gaps have led to popular frustration and have opened opportunities to violent opposition movements such as the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have in some areas of the country established a shadow presence offering an alternative local dispute resolution system,” it added.

Following Islamabad’s 2009 military offensive to drive militants from FATA and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government had undertaken an assessment to address the needs and understand the factors underlying violence, with assistance from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations and the European Union.

The World Bank study noted that since the assessment, Pakistan had faced an even more immediate challenge in the shape of last year’s devastating floods.

The survey determined that traditional and community structures for dispute resolution were also potential partners in delivering early results and warned that it might be unwise to ignore them.

The World Bank noted that the rise in numbers of internally displaced populations (IDPs), which include substantial new displacements in 2009 and 2010 in countries such as Pakistan, undermines recovery from violence and interrupt human development.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the tribal areas on their borders, violence from the conflict between the government and international forces and the Taliban and other armed groups was linked to drug trafficking and criminal violence as well as kidnapping, extortion, and smuggling of a range of natural resources.


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