The Talibanization of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Mainstream Muslim religious leaders in Pakistan have formed an alliance to openly oppose the Taliban, a development that promises to give authorities broad-based support to fight militants who have imposed a reign of terror on much of the northwest.
In the past, military operations against the Taliban have evoked widespread accusations that the government was fighting Washington's war, a view reinforced by a belief that dialogue and diplomacy could rein in the Taliban's more barbarous practices.
The alliance, named the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) was formed Friday in Lahore, Pakistan's most populous city. It initiated what it called a "Save Pakistan Movement" with the goal of stopping the growing "Talibanization" of the country.
The anti-Taliban alliance consists of eight Pakistani subsects of Barelvi Islam, a tolerant branch of Sunni Islam that is prominent throughout the Indian subcontinent, especially in Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province.
The group says it will "unveil the real face of the Taliban before the public," such as public executions, beheadings, amputations and floggings.Fazal Karim, head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, one faction of the anti-Taliban alliance, said: "Those who called themselves Taliban in Swat are terrorists and not humans. There is no room for suicide attacks in Islam." Mr. Karim is also a member of the Pakistan's National Assembly,