As the international community increasingly critiques Pakistan’s decision to draft a ceasefire with the Taliban in Swat, President Asif Ali Zardari has emerged to defend his decision to negotiate with the militants.
Zardari maintains that the government negotiated with non-Taliban clerics. “We have not and will not negotiate with extremist Taliban and terrorists,” he said in a March 4 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Still, extremist Islamic shariah law continues to swell throughout the region. Music and films are banned and it remains to be seen when, if ever, girls’ schools will reopen. In this response to Zardari, the Daily Times‘ Najam Sethi writes, “Mr. Zardari’s naivete will have ripple effects throughout Pakistan.”