Public Unites Against Taliban in Pakistan

Public Unites Against Taliban in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan -- There has been a perceptible shift in the battle against militancy in Pakistan. The massive army operations that recently concluded in the Swat valley, the largest ever conducted by Pakistan against the Taliban, are but one facet of it. For the first time, the government is also winning the propaganda war.

Ordinary citizens and political parties from across the spectrum -- including religious ones -- have rallied around the army. At a series of government-organized religious conferences in May, scholars denounced the Taliban as a perversion of Islamic teachings.

While stopping short of apologizing for their role in stoking the Taliban in the past, mainstream religious parties have had to tailor their rhetoric to reflect the change in popular sentiment. Where once parties like Jamaat-e-Islami would all but openly support the Taliban, they have now been forced to denounce the current spate of suicide bombings and other insurgent attacks against the army, government institutions and ordinary citizens as the work of "enemies of Pakistan" and Islam.

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