Pakistani police on Sunday arrested Sufi Mohammed, the Taliban-aligned cleric responsible for brokering a controversial peace deal between Swat Valley militants and the government this year. That deal eventually broke down, leading to the ongoing military offensive against Taliban fighters.
Mohammed is the father-in-law of Maulana Qazi Fazlullah, the Taliban leader who fought Pakistani troops for two years before wresting control of the Swat Valley, once a tourist mecca.
Mohammed negotiated a peace deal with the government in February that called for Fazlullah’s fighters to lay down their arms in exchange for the imposition of Sharia, or Islamic law, in the region. In the spring, Taliban militants in Swat reneged on the truce and moved into the neighboring district of Buner, just 60 miles from the nation’s capital, Islamabad.
Fazlullah’s actions prompted Pakistani leaders to mount an all-out assault on militants in Swat and surrounding regions, a move that forced the exodus of nearly 2 million civilians from the conflict zone. [continued…]