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Islamic Law Imposed in Part of Pakistan in Deal With Militants

  • VOA News

Pakistan has agreed to impose strict Islamic law in parts of the northwest, in a deal with Taliban militants.

The government of North West Frontier Province signed the agreement with Taliban-linked militants in Peshawar Monday. It covers Pakistan's Malakand region, which includes Swat valley - once a tourist haven and now almost entirely controlled by the Taliban.

Provincial Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti says Pakistan's federal government and President Asif Ali Zardari have approved the deal.

On Sunday, militants announced a 10-day cease-fire in Swat, and released a Chinese engineer from captivity as a goodwill gesture.

Pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah has been waging a violent campaign to impose Islamic law in the region since 2007.

News of the deal came as several missiles were fired from a suspected U.S. drone (pilotless aircraft) at a building used by Taliban militants in Pakistan's Kurram tribal region, killing at least 26 people. It is the first known missile strike in Kurram.

Separately, a Pakistani rebel group that claims to be holding an American U.N. official said Monday it has extended a deadline to negotiate for his release.

John Solecki, a U.N. refugee agency official, was seized in southwestern Pakistan two weeks ago. On Friday, militants threatened to kill Solecki within 72 hours.

His kidnappers say they are from a previously unknown group, the Baluchistan Liberation United Front.

Militants have demanded the release of 141 ethnic Baluch women allegedly held in Pakistan. But Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik says he is not aware the women are detained.

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