A hardline Muslim cleric in Pakistan's Swat Valley says strict Islamic
courts should begin operating in the region by March 15th.
Cleric Sufi Mohammad made the remarks to reporters in Swat's main city of Mingora on Sunday.
About two weeks ago, Mohammad negotiated a controversial deal with officials from North West Frontier Province to allow Sharia (Islamic law) to be imposed in the region that includes Swat Valley.
In exchange, Taliban militants in the region say they will end their
two-year insurgency. During that time, witnesses says militants
beheaded opponents and destroyed schools.
Mohammad said Sunday that the government has not taken many practical
steps toward implementing the court system or the peace deal. He said
his followers will stage a protest if the Islamic courts are not in
place by mid-March.
Mohammad is also calling on the government and the Taliban to release each others prisoners before the middle of this month.