Pakistani Taliban defends flogging, says Sharia permits it


Islamabad : Ignoring the widespread shock evoked by the scenes of a young woman being publicly flogged, the Pakistani Taliban said Saturday that the punishment meted out was just and no one would be allowed to interfere with Sharia laws.

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Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Muslim Khan told reporters in Swat the incident had occurred elsewhere, adding that “the punishment awarded to the woman was just as she was of loose character”.

Khan said: “No one would be allowed to interfere in Sharia (Islamic law) and if any man or woman commits sin, we will punish them according to Sharia.”

Peace is directly related with the imposition of Islamic law, he said.

He termed the video played in the media Friday “as fake and said we will punish the man who filmed the video whenever we catch him”, Geo TV reported.

The grainy video, shot on a mobile phone, showed the girl face down on the ground. Two men held her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whipped her repeatedly.

“Please stop it,” the girl pleaded. “Either kill me or stop it now.”

The punishment stopped after 34 lashes and the wailing girl was led into a stone building.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the incident while Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ordered an enquiry.

Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry also sought a report on the incident and ordered it be presented Monday before an eight-member Supreme Court bench headed by him.

Sharia laws have been imposed in Swat and seven other districts of the North West Frontier Province under a peace deal between the provincial government and the Taliban.

“The video exposes the barbarity that lies at the heart of the Taliban movement,” an editorial in The News said Friday, adding: “This is the Taliban version of Sharia law in action, and it is coming to a chowk near you in the foreseeable future.”