Pakistanis arrest pro-Taliban cleric

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The Independent Online

Pakistani police have arrested pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Muhammad, who brokered a peace deal between the government and militants in the Swat Valley that has since collapsed.

Muhammad, the father-in-law of Swat Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, negotiated a truce with the government in February that imposed Sharia, or Islamic law, in the valley in exchange for an end to two years of fighting. But it was widely seen as giving in to Taliban control of the area.

The deal fell apart in April when the Taliban advanced into neighbouring districts, triggering a military offensive. Mian Iftikhar, the Information Minister for the North West Frontier Province, said Muhammad was arrested for encouraging violence and terrorism. "Instead of keeping his promises by taking steps for the sake of peace, and speaking out against terrorism, he did not utter a single word against terrorists," Iftikhar said.