A teacher who once fought as a mujahideen against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan has been gunned down by the Taliban in Pakistan’s troubled Swat valley for not hiking up his ‘salwar’ or trousers above his ankles.
Though the Pakistani Taliban have not issued any edict for the salwar to be worn in this manner,there have been reports of the militants threatening men for not hiking up their trousers.
The militants say hiking up the trousers is essential for offering prayers.
Former mujahideen Amjad Islam,who was working as a teacher in a private school in Swat,was gunned down on Thursday for not hiking his salwar above his ankles. The militants then went to Islam’s house and gunned down his father,Ghani Akbar,a lawyer by profession.
Islam’s body was later hung by the militants from a pole in the College Square in Matta town and local residents were warned not to touch it till Friday morning. The body was taken down and moved to Islam’s house after a local jirga intervened.
Local residents said the militants had asked Islam to hitch his salwar above his ankles on Thursday morning. The teacher told them he was a former mujahideen and knew everything about Islam. He also said nobody could be forced to pull up his salwar above the ankles,The News daily reported.
Islam said he had also seen the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,which had not forced men to wear their salwar in this manner. His arguments angered the militants and led to a scuffle.
The teacher,who had a pistol,fired at the militants and killed a Taliban fighter and wounded two more. He then tried to flee but the militants shot and stabbed him,killing him instantly. Locals also said Islam’s father was a religious and humble man who was well respected in the area.
Large tracts of the Swat valley in the North West Frontier Province are now controlled by local Taliban fighters led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah despite a major anti-militancy operation launched in the area by the Pakistan Army in October 2007.
The Taliban have set up their own courts and patrol many towns and villages in the valley located just 160 km from Islamabad.
On January 15,the Taliban banned girls’ education in Swat,leading to the closure of some 400 schools. The militants have also directed men to wear Muslim skull caps and stop shaving their beards by January 25.