Militancy in Malakand: Sufi Muhammad charged with terror

Published: January 19, 2011
ATC in Peshawar frames terror charges against TNSM chief who pursued demand for imposition of harsh brand of sharia.

ATC in Peshawar frames terror charges against TNSM chief who pursued demand for imposition of harsh brand of sharia.

PESHAWAR: As the Darul Qaza is inaugurated in Swat, an anti-terrorism court in Peshawar framed terror charges against TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad.

The octogenarian cleric had pursued the demand for imposition of a harsh brand of sharia in Malakand division for almost two decades. He is now behind bars after he was arrested by authorities in July last year from Peshawar.

Pakistan’s legal system was extended to Dir, Swat and Chitral after these princely states were merged with Pakistan in 1969. In 1975, the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) Regulations I and II transferred judicial powers to the executive instead of the judiciary.

In early 1990s, the Peshawar  High Court (PHC) declared that the regulations were unconstitutional and discriminatory in nature. The judgment, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court, opened an avenue for Sufi Muhammad who had set up the TNSM in 1989 after splitting with Jamaat-e-Islami.

In 1994, the provincial government announced that sharia courts will be set up in Malakand after street protests by TNSM activists. The legislation was named Nifaz-i-Nizam-i-Sharia but the TNSM rejected it, saying it was subservient to procedural law which was laid down by foreigners in the subcontinent.

Tempers flared again in November 1994 and an operation was launched against the TNSM and Sufi Muhammad and other senior leaders were arrested. Four years later, the government issued an amended version of this law but the cleric also rejected it.

In 2001, Sufi Muhammad was jailed upon returning to Pakistan from fighting in Afghanistan. He was released in 2008 to woo militants in Swat and an accord was reached with the government agreeing to enforce Nizam-e-Adl regulations.

However, Sufi Muhammad’s relationship with the PPP government soured as he began a verbal diatribe against Pakistan’s legal system. In early 2010, he called it ‘kufr’ while addressing a public meeting in Mingora. The peace agreement broke down as the military moved into Swat and Sufi Muhammad went into hiding.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Shuaib
    Jan 19, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Good! At least show the public that you have some gutts!Recommend

  • Umair Mallick
    Jan 19, 2011 - 12:24PM

    This snake is an insult to SUFIs and sufism. I urge media to not to report such terrorists as sufis. PEMRA should urgently and aggressively educate media industry and the reporters so such individuals receive kind of publicity they truly deserve. Titles such as Sufi, Maulana, Mufti, Maulvi, Dr should not be allowed to be used unless they are genuine and meet qualifications required. Please do not feed wrong information in the mind of our public.
    This individual incited violence, preached distorted version of Islam, commanded militancy and acts of terrorism that resulted in loss of lives of our soldiers and innocent civilians. He should be hanged in public along with his accomplices.


  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Jan 19, 2011 - 12:32PM

    The roots for all this (negative representation of Islam) can be traced back to one so religious-political party. These people who decry the west were in cohorts with the same western countries during the 1979-89, took money, sent people in Afghanistan & provided logistics for all these mercenaries coming to our country.

    This was the start of our society’s decay, now we & our children have to face the brunt of these actions.

    We must wake up & smell the rot of the actions of a few old self centered politicians, religious leaders & a Dictator (Zia-Ul-Haq) who was the orchestrator of Black September (search it, it will be an eye opener for all).Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui,Australia
    Jan 19, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Why it took so much time to prosecute this monster!!??Recommend

  • Disco Molvi
    Jan 19, 2011 - 6:06PM

    They can’t be serious, charging a man with a name ‘Muhammad’, it’ll amount to blasphemy.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jan 19, 2011 - 11:22PM

    These illeterate mullahs have no idea what Islam is and how it can be preached.
    Majority of our countrymen are religiously blind, they can’t see the truth. Recommend

  • Jan 20, 2011 - 4:21AM

    The parents of the kids he took to be slaughtered in afghanistan after 9/11 should be given custody of this filthRecommend

  • Shuaib
    Jan 20, 2011 - 11:15AM

    Why does ET have to modify our comments?? Where did the freedom of speech goRecommend

  • Shuaib
    Jan 20, 2011 - 11:18AM

    Disco Molvi….its more blasphemous that this man is named Muhammad!Recommend

  • naureen.aqueel
    Jan 20, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Tribune comments policy can be viewed here. For specific complaints and enquiries, please email

    Best regards (Web Desk)Recommend

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